The Manhattan Cocktail Needs Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey nearly vanished after Prohibition, but it’s back in a very big way.  Bourbon is slightly too sweet in a Manhattan, but rye whiskey has a spicy kick, and the stronger the rye, the better.

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • ¾ to 1 ounce Italian sweet vermouth
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon peel, or cherry, for garnish

— Combine whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Stir 40 times, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with the cherry already at the bottom.  Or add the lemon peel to the drink, for garnish.

A simpler option is to pour whiskey, vermouth and bitters over ice in an Old-Fashioned glass, and stir.  A Manhattan can also be shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass, but the texture will be different.

Notes: Some people like 4 or 5 drops of cherry juice, or a few drops of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur.

Rittenhouse 100 Rye is a preferred rye, with Martini & Rossi for the vermouth.  High West Rye is also recommended.

If you want an impressive and Manhattan, find a bottle of Carpano Antica, one of the most complex (and expensive) Italian vermouths.

If you can find Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey and Dolin Rouge French vermouth,  use the 1 ounce amount for the vermouth, and you’ll sip an unforgettable Manhattan. This combo is recommended by gaz regan.

Since bourbon is a little sweeter than rye, Noilly Prat French Sweet Vermouth works well with that spirit.

Sweet vermouth, after the bottle is opened, should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will last a month. Write the date that you open it, on the label. Better yet, pump out the air with a low-cost Vacu Vin, and it will stay fresh even longer.