A Manhattan is sophisticated, strong and classic. The drink itself commands respect, and in turn so does the person consuming it. It is a more fun version of straight whiskey, which I highly recommend as a drink when you mean business, for reasons which have already been explained quite well. A Manhattan is both business and pleasure. It is an assertion of a very distinguished, particular taste and I recommend ordering it often and with authority.
Our level of confidence at the bar probably has a lot to do with how knowledgeable we feel about our drink options, and I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people who are missing out on the pleasure and power of a Manhattan simply because they don’t know what it is or if they will like it.
When you order any drink, you are negotiating power and reputation. Like what you wear, your drink choice says something about who you are to those observing you. The bad ass factor in ordering a Manhattan is magnified when you’re able to order with confidence.
So here’s how to order a Manhattan like you mean it:
First, learn how the drink is made.
If you’ve enjoyed a Manhattan made by your own hand at home before, you are not only a drinker of the classic cocktail, you are a maker. You now possess a unique skill. Imagine coming home from a tiring day of work and reclining on the couch with a Manhattan made to your liking in one hand and a book in the other. That is classy as hell and you know it.
A Manhattan is traditionally comprised of rye whiskey (though bourbon is also acceptable as a southern variation on the original recipe), sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and a maraschino cherry for garnish.
To make a Manhattan, you will need:
1.5 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
A few dashes of Angostura bitters
a cherry for garnish (maraschino is traditional but I prefer the more modern use of marinated cherries)
Bar spoon (any long spoon will do the trick)
shot glass or jigger
With a few ice cubes already in your mixing glass, combine whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a cherry for garnish.
You’ve just made an expert Manhattan.
Now you’re ready to order.
The degree to which I can be particular about my order is another reason I love this drink. There’s something distinctly pleasurable about knowing your drink well enough to tell the bartender your brand preference (Bulleit? Knob Creek?) and whether you’ll take your Manhattan on the rocks or up (with or without ice, respectively.)
Bulleit Manhattan, up.
I encourage you to experiment with bases (rye or bourbon) and brands until you’ve identified a favorite. Try the drink up and on the rocks at least once as well. The more research you put into your preferred drink the more you’ll own it every time you order.
Consider trying one of these variations on a Manhattan as well:
Dry Manhattan – sweet vermouth is swapped out for dry vermouth and the drink is garnished with a lemon twist instead of a cherry
Perfect Manhattan – the same amount of vermouth is used, with equal parts dry and sweet
It’s about that simple. Have a bad ass happy hour today.