It’s hard to find an absolute ultimate of anything, but this has been my go-to drink for so many years that it could make a fair claim to the throne. Satisfying, rich and complex, it’s peerless when I need something to settle body and soul late in the evening. I have several versions I’m keen on (all in the sweet camp, using rosso vermouth), but mixing it in batches like this makes it so easy to serve when you get home and just need a Manhattan – or if you have a group over for dinner.
600ml rye whiskey
12 shots (300ml) sweet vermouth
1 shot (25ml) maraschino liqueur
½ teaspoon Peychaud’s bitters
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters cubed ice cherry, to garnish (I like proper cocktail cherries like Luxardo or Fabbri, or fresh ones, but steer clear of the super-sweet candied type!)
Cut 4 strips of orange zest and 1 strip of lemon zest using a peeler. Add the lemon zest and three strips of the orange to a large jug. Add the rye whiskey, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Mix well. Rest for 10 minutes, strain, then bottle and chill.
To serve, add 2 shots (50ml) to a mixing glass filled with ice, then stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry and the remaining orange twist.
This serve is perfectly balanced and has enough alcohol in it to sit happily in your fridge for a while. You can change the ratios of liquids to equal parts for a softer version (and brands, bitters, additions etc), or invert the rye and vermouth quantities to give a vermouth-heavy Reverse Manhattan: it’s gentler, for when you need a midweek reviver that doesn’t pack too powerful a punch.
IT’S HARD TO FIND AN ABSOLUTE ULTIMATE OF ANYTHING, BUT THIS HAS BEEN MY GO-TO DRINK FOR SO MANY YEARS THAT IT COULD MAKE A FAIR CLAIM TO THE THRONE.
Slick & Sassy Media Ltd