Dad’s Manhattan

Dad's Manhattan pouring

When my dad retired, almost 30 years ago, he had a Manhattan at 4:00 pm every day, “for medicinal purposes only”, of course. It must have some longevity properties, because Dad is 91! This recipe, Dad’s Manhattan, is his version of a very classic drink.

The Manhattan is a drink with a long history. The details seem vague as to who originated the drink, but the one thing that remains the same is it was developed in NYC’s Manhattan borough in the mid 19th century. It’s made with whiskey, originally rye, but bourbon, blended and Tennessee whiskeys are also used.

Dad's Manhattan in shaker

Regular Manhattan vs. Perfect Manhattan vs. Dad’s Manhattan

A regular Manhattan is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and garnished with a Maraschino cherry. A Perfect Manhattan is made with whiskey, even amounts of both sweet and dry vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and is garnished with a twist of lemon.

Dad’s Manhattan is made with bourbon, preferably Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and dry vermouth. That’s it, no bitters, definitely no sweet vermouth, and certainly no cherry or lemon to distract the taste buds from the bourbon and vermouth. My preference is Michter’s Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which I keep in this lovely decanter.

Dad's Manhattan decanter

Whenever he would order a Manhattan in a restaurant, he would say “a dry Manhattan, straight up, no fruit.” There were many times when the wrong cocktail arrived. By saying “dry” Dad was indicating dry vermouth in lieu of sweet. However, we knew immediately when the bartender had used sweet vermouth, the cocktail was too dark, and he sent it back. Same thing if they added fruit, it was returned, and if they just took the fruit out and re-served it, he knew that, too!

Dad's Manhattan

Because of the vermouth, this cocktail is placed in the Martini category, and is usually served in a Martini glass. Over the years, however, my father has tried many different glasses. This one is his favorite and mine, too.

Dad's Manhattan

I have had many Manhattans over years to accompany my Dad in his ritual. It’s a powerful drink and one is my limit. If you’d like a little nosh to accompany your cocktail, try our Curried Deviled Eggs.

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Dad’s Manhattan

Dad's Manhattan

Dad’s Manhattan is made with bourbon, preferably Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and dry vermouth. That’s it, no bitters, definitely no sweet vermouth, and certainly no cherry or lemon to distract the taste buds from the bourbon and vermouth. My whiskey preference is Michter’s Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which I keep in this lovely decanter.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Cocktail

Ingredients

3 ounces whiskey, rye, bourbon, blended, or Tennessee
1 ounce dry vermouth

Instructions

Place 4 ice cubes in a cocktail mixer, add the bourbon and vermouth, and stir until the shaker frosts up, about 25 swirls.

Place the cover over the shaker and pour.

Notes

A regular Manhattan is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and garnished with a Maraschino cherry. A Perfect Manhattan is made with whiskey, even amounts of both sweet and dry vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and is garnished with a twist of lemon.

Keywords: Manhattan, perfect Manhattan, cocktail, bourbon, rye, vermouth, entertains

Cheers!

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