With apologies to The Pioneer Woman, whose recipes always amuse and inspire me.
It seems that these days, everyone is into what I call pseudo-martinis, you know, those strong, fancy (and usually sweet) cocktails that are served in martini glasses and are called some kind of “martini”. I’m not knocking them – I like them, but they’re not really martinis.
I know that most people these days (especially if they’re under 50) like their drinks to be sweet. But I’m one of those people who never puts sugar or sweetener in her coffee or tea, and rarely drinks soft drinks. I like a sweet drink once in a while, but not on a regular basis. And I actually like the taste of (good) whiskey.
So although this is a drink that probably won’t appeal to most of you, may I present:
The Manhattan Cocktail.
The Wikipedia refers to the Manhattan as “a drinking man’s cocktail–strong, urbane, and simple. It has also been called the ‘king of cocktails’.”
The Cast of Characters: Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, and a glass of ice. Nowadays most bars make Manhattans with bourbon or Canadian whiskey, but rye is the traditional–if rarely seen–choice. Now that I’ve had both, I much prefer them with the spicier, less-sweet rye.
In this case, I’m using my new best friend, the delicious High West Rendezvous Rye. As for the vermouth, make sure you’re using sweet red vermouth, not dry vermouth. I’m using Martini & Rossi. (Hey, does anybody remember those “Martini & Rossi… on the rocks” commercials?) Don’t worry, we’re going to cut down on the sweetness with the Angostura bitters.
First, throw some ice in a cocktail glass. Don’t fill the glass completely, about half-way is fine. You can always add more later if you like.
Then, measure out 2 ounces of whiskey. See this cute little measuring cup? It’s designed to let you see what the measurement is by looking down into the cup, instead of trying to read lines on the side. It’s marked with both ounces and tablespoons. I love it. Although in the photo it looks like I don’t have a full 2 ounces in the cup, it’s only because the whiskey becomes transparent at the top edge. Trust me, it’s all there.
Next, pour the whiskey over the ice. That’s right, just go ahead and dump it in. Don’t be afraid.
Then measure out 1/2 ounce of vermouth.
And, you guessed it, pour it over the ice.
Then, and this is the tricky part, add ONE DROP of bitters. Be careful – if you add more than a drop, it could be nasty. You’d probably then have to add proportionately more whiskey and vermouth, and the rest of the evening will be shot.
Finally, stir to blend. I have used my lovely (ahem) plastic palm tree stirrer, but any stirring implement will suffice.
If you’ve hung on this long, but a Manhattan doesn’t appeal to you, here’s a slightly sweeter cocktail you can make with whiskey:
Pour some whiskey over ice in a glass. Add a splash of 7-up (for some sweetness), and a splash of water (to tone down the sweetness a bit). Stir to blend.