The Best Manhattan Cocktail Has 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
  • 3/4 ounce Italian sweet vermouth
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon slice, 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 slice, for garnish.

A simpler option is to pour whiskey, vermouth and bitters over ice in an Old-Fashioned glass, and stir.  Manhattans 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 Cinzano or Martini & Rossi for the vermouth.  If you can find Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey and Dolin Rouge French vermouth,  increase the amount of vermouth to 1 ounce, and you’ll sip an unforgettable Manhattan.

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 about 3 weeks. Better yet, pump out the air with a cheap Vacu Vin, and it will stay fresh even longer.