Confessions of a Mixologist: The Perfect Manhattan
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“Perfectio vera in coelestibus” - true perfection is only to be found in heaven. - St. Jerome. Well, maybe, but when you can have perfection on Earth, heaven can wait, at least until you finish your drink.
We aren’t talking about “the” perfect Manhattan, some might argue that the incredibly popular sweet Manhattan (what most simply call a Manhattan) already holds that title, but “a” Perfect Manhattan. A variation on the theme that has the maker replace half of the Sweet Vermouth with Dry Vermouth. This perfect 1:1 ratio of Vermouths is the origin of the name.
What mixologist’s hand or eye could frame that perfect symmetry? Yours, your hand, and eye. It's easy, just measure twice, drink once, use fantastic Vermouth. We use Carpano Classico Sweet and Dolin Dry Vermouth, resulting in a supremely complex and delicious cocktail.
What about the hypotenuse of this perfect right triangle, the spirit? Normally we lean toward Rye for our Manhattans but given the dryer cut of French Vermouth a slightly sweeter Bourbon is quite welcome. We still like it high rye though, so the arrival of Binny’s Handpicked Redemption Bourbons is perfectly timed. Any one of these will make an amazing drink but we lean toward Barrel #21060 for its bold but classic high rye profile. At 105 proof it will make a statement in any cocktail and certainly drinks like a dream on the rocks.
Once you have mixed one up, take a moment to consider the Perfect Manhattan. Is it perfect in form? Fluid dynamics may have something to say about that but contained in the form of an elegant cocktail coupe, it is definitely pleasing to the eye. Is it perfect in function? If that function is to deliver a potent drink of complexity, balance, and sophistication then, yes, we have achieved perfection.
Happy Bourbon Heritage Month, ya'll!
- 2 oz. Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
- 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist
- Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
Confessions of a Mixologist: Manhattan
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