The Manhattan

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to for gratitude and tradition, so it seemed appropriate to explore a truly classic cocktail. Thus, the Manhattan, one of the oldest North American cocktails we’ve tried so far.

The Manhattan is generally made with rye whisky, but apparently the cocktail craze has caused bourbon to become a popular alternative spirit. With such a simple method, one could definitely experiment with various whiskies and bourbons. (In fact, we made one drink with Gibson’s rather than Crown Royal, just for the sake of tasting.)

Here’s what we did.


For each drink, combine the following in a cocktail shaker:

  • 3 or 4 ice cubes
  • 2 oz rye
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 4 or 5 drops of bitters (we used Angostura)

Shake for 8 to 10 seconds, until chilled. Pour liquor into chilled glasses with 1 or 2 additional ice cubes, and garnish with a cherry.

The verdict: This one divided the group. Those of us who prefer our alcohol well masked did not appreciate the “spirit-forward” power of this cocktail, while the traditionalists in the group really lapped it up. We discussed adjusting the proportions for differing tastes, as well as omitting the ice in the glass (the water really opens up the whisky, and this cocktail is often served neat).

Here’s to tradition and the many ways to honour it. Cheers!

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