reviews, recommendations, recipes, and The Bar Project

Marge’s Marvelous Manhattan ®

Posted by sean

manhattan
When it comes to a favorite – any favorite – there is a comfort that comes without thinking – or perhaps more accurately a comfort that come from not having to think.

In my own case, that comfort comes with the topic of this post – the Manhattan – my own particular favorite when it comes to cocktails.

Depending on my mood, I enjoy a variety of drinks, but when the question comes, “What’ll you have” – the first answer that comes without thinking is – a Manhattan, a Perfect Manhattan on the sweet side, to be precise.

As is the custom here at the bar project, I am at this very moment enjoying a Manhattan and hope it’s story below does not suffer as its warm and welcome effects take hold.

To start with, I consider the Manhattan to be an adult’s drink – surely not unapproachable, but in a class of drinks that requires a certain familiarity with alcohol before one is likely to appreciate it. Within the spectrum of alcoholic beverages, the Manhattan falls decidedly within the more mature half – above your lower order mixed drinks and just below the true pinnacle of alcoholic appreciation – the single malt scotch, served ‘neat’. That topic however, is for another post…

Perhaps a bit off topic, but it occurs to me that, in our culture, the cocktail spectrum begins without alcohol at all. In fact, it seems one engages the cocktail ‘experience’ from the earliest stages of childhood with the venerable Shirley Template or Roy Rogers.

It is with these ‘mocktails’ that children are initiated – first introduced to the idea that a cocktail is a sort of passkey to the adult social experience. Somehow even these virgin cocktails seem to lend a level of sophistication to a youngster’s perception of their ability to participate in the overall adult social experience.

From this early introduction, the alcoholic journey begins – through various virgin drinks, then ‘entry-level’ drinks – mainly mixer with a shot of something you don’t really have to taste, but with enough consumption will produce the desired socializing ‘buzz’, then graduating to more mature drinks that more clearly expose their alcoholic content.

In my own case, I enjoyed passing through each of these stages and began my engagement with ‘up’ drinks with what must be considered the de facto standard – the Vodka Martini. Perhaps seeking a passkey myself to some level of adult sophistication I felt I had not yet attained – ridiculous, I know…

After toying with the Martini – and settling on the ‘dirty’ variety, which now seems a waste of decent vodka, I found myself sampling various other up drinks without developing a particular affinity for any of them.

I can’t remember exactly when I first met was is now my old friend, the Manhattan, but I do know from whence it came – my mother-in-law… As an aside, I’m sure everyone has a stereotypical mother-in-law comment coming to mind, but in my case, my own mother-in-law is best known amongst my friends for her hearty appreciation of that magical moment between day and evening – the cocktail hour. And therein lay the entrée to my first Manhattan.

Whoever may have made the introductions, we have become fast friends. The Manhattan and I, I mean – although I get on swimmingly with my mother-in-law as well. Perhaps considering the fact that my mother-in-law and I engage socially primarily over the cocktail hour, the two are not so unrelated?

If you’re interested in improving your own relationship with your mother-in-law (or anyone for that matter), I can heartily recommend the Manhattan as a lubricant and offer my mother-in-law’s recipe below. As with most up drinks, the Manhattan is an exceedingly simple drink with only a very few ingredients.

Marge’s Marvelous Manhattan ®

3 oz. blended whiskey – Seagram’s VO is my favorite
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1/4 oz. dry vermouth
1 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
1 maraschino cherry

Place 1 tsp. of maraschino cherry juice in each glass with a maraschino cherry. Combine whiskey, sweet and dry vermouth in an ice filled shaker, shake, pour and enjoy.

As simple a recipe as it is, I am amazed at how widely varied its preparation seems to be when I order it out and how very particular I am about it when it fails to meet expectations. Nonetheless, I always find it worth the extra effort to get it right as there’s little worse than struggling through a flawed execution of what was to have been a welcome and well-known favorite.

I have been thinking about having cards printed up to avoid having to wait to find out if the bartender has gotten it right, but haven’t gone that far yet… I’ll keep you posted.

 

Posted in Mixed Drinks, Recipes, Whiskey

 

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  1. Matt Feshback Okyanos

    Matt Feshback Okyanos

    Marge’s Marvelous Manhattan ® | The Bar Project Project

Comments

  1. thirteentwenty said:

    As a bartender, I can tell you that there are many different recipies for a Manhattan. If you frequent the same pubs (bars or what ever you want to call them) you really should leave a little recipe card with the ‘tenders so you don’t have to keep on telling the the recipe untill they have it memorized. I for one am appreciative of the customers that do that for me (which are normaly other bartenders). I hope that you don’t mind, I’ve added your recipe to my recipe book.

  2. OtterTail said:

    Blended whiskey? Please no. Only Maker’s Mark will do in my Manhattan.

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