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Dreaming of Manhattan?

Contributing Author: Robin Bruhn
Photos by: Robin Bruhn / @drickor

They say that it's the small things in life. To me that could refer to the sensation of tasting something you haven't had in a long while and be reminded that that long while is a while too long. I had such a moment just weeks ago with the ole' reliable cocktail, The Manhattan

The drink was originally served at The Manhattan Club in New York, NY (surprise!) in the late 1800's and was during that time and well into the 1900's the most popular cocktail around in the world. Boozy, spicy, sweet and a touch of citrus makes The Manhattan a good beverage to sip by a fancy marble bar top or even in the convenience of your own couch. 

The recipe is easy and right to the point, like the cocktail itself. American whiskey stirred with sweet red vermouth, some bitters and served in a coupe or martini glass with some nice maraschino cherries, a citrus zest. Or both. To each their own. 
Let's start with the glassware. As this is a drink that is served neat and straight into the glass the way we prepare and cool our drinking vessels (the glasses) and mixing glass is key for the perfect serve and for the proper Manhattan experience. If you have enough space in your freezer you can prepare in advance by putting in your glasses a few hours before serving or do it à la minute by crushing some ice or putting some ice cubes in your glassware. Fill up with some cold water as well and put the glasses to the side during the rest of the prep. We also need to fill up our mixing glass with some ice. Give the ice a good stir with your bar spoon to chill the glass and pour out any excess water and ice chips. We don't want these small chips in the drink when serving.

Now we can start to build the cocktail in our mixing glass. The original recipe calls for two parts whiskey, one part vermouth and some bitters. Historically this drink was made with rye whiskey, but nowadays bourbon is as common, if not even more usual. Me? I am usually doing a 50/50 split between the two. For one drink pour 2 oz (60ml) in your glass and add 1 oz (30ml) of your vermouth and add two dashes of Angostura Bitters, or bitters of choice and stir and dilute the drink properly. 

With cocktails like the Manhattan, since it is such a spirit forward cocktail, chilling and diluting is a key moment to get the chilling sensation and also the flavors to get balanced before serving. 
When stirring, keep one hand on the side of the mixing glass to feel when the drink is properly chilled and taste to ensure the cocktail is balanced. 
Strain and serve in your chilled glassware. Serve with some maraschino cherries or an orange zest. If you dont want to miss out on one over the other I suggest pressing the oils from an orange zest over your drink, rub the peel across the rim of the glass and discard the peel before serving with cherries. 

Best Bar in Stockholm for a Manhattan: The Cadier Bar at Grand Hotel
Best Bar globally for a Manhattan: Dead Rabbit, New York, NY. 

Photos by: Robin Bruhn / @drickor

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