First I was going to do it, then I wasn’t, then I was, then I wasn’t, now I am. I’m going to blog about a Manhattan on the very day I arrive on the island it is named for. Sup just posted last week on the Manhattan’s European cousin, the Boulevardier cocktail so I was thinking that perhaps after people read about that drink’s swanky sophistication they would no longer be in the mood for its domestic cousin. (Also, I tend to stalk Sup a lot and I don’t want him to be too worried.) Upon reflection I snapped out if it as everything has just been coming together for this drink so why fight it?
My friend Chris and I order these with our old school steak dinners at Taylor’s and I enjoy them frequently when I travel and seek out a cocktail to savor slowly at a swank lobby bar. This classic whiskey cocktail is best drunk when there is still a chill in the air and before the hot balmy weather conspires to make whiskey a bit cloying. The inclusion of bitters in the drink gives it the highest available “cocktail” cred. Angustura is the most popular and easiest to find brand of bitters but if you care to go the extra step and find another gourmet variety you will give your Manhattan a stylish edge. I don’t. I prefer the classic where this cocktail is concerned. I had once heard that The Manhattan was invented by Winston Churchill’s mother Lady Randolph Churchill. I’m not sure I believe it but even if true, the drink is still an American classic as Lady R herself was born and raised in Brooklyn!
I love bitters. Essentially they are just as super secret blend of herbs and spices steeped in alchohol. I love adding a few shakes of these to a gingerale or 7-up to turn it into a “mocktail” on those nights I’m the designated driver (or on a diet.) Add a few dashes to a canned soup to zshoosh it up a bit.
I just discovered that one of my heros, Rachael Maddow, is a fan of the Manhattan and actually showed us how to make it on her Tax Day show last week. Rachael and I even favor the same recipe proportions and heavy hand with the bitters! We agree on so much it would seem except for her odd omission of the drink’s defining garnish, the cherry! Oh the irony of Rachael saying no to the cherry. (Did I say that?)