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        1. Lesson Two: Recipes

          Chapter Six: Whiskey Up, aka The Manhattan

          Supporting Cast:
          Rob Roy

          The Manhattan

          The Manhattan is not unlike Dixieland jazz, a wild, disruptive, even punky music that with the passing years became corny and old and then, on the verge of extinction, roared back to take the top of the charts by storm. Okay, that last part’s wishful thinking as regards the music, but the Manhattan’s definitely busting a move again. After two generations as a walking antique (yes, cocktails don’t walk, but it sounds better than “sitting there dumbly in a glass”), this simple combination of American whiskey and Italian vermouth—and a couple dashes of bitters, please—has seen an increase in the size of its royalty checks. Maybe it’s because we live in challenging times, times that demand both a soothing word and a motivating kick in the pants. The Manhattan, when properly constructed with American straight rye whiskey, supplies both. Made with bourbon or, especially, Canadian whisky, it merely soothes—not a bad thing, but a definite case of underachievement.

          2 ounces American straight rye whiskey, preferably around 100 proof
          1 ounce Martini & Rossi red vermouth
          2 dashes Angostura bitters
          To finish: lemon peel (or a maraschino cherry)

          Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; twist lemon peel over the top. (If you must have it garnished with a cherry, go ahead—but it tastes better with a twist.)

          Substitutions: For the rye, bourbon—preferably around 100 proof (if you’re using bourbon, Cinzano vermouth works well; Carpano Antica works even better)—or Scotch, in which case it’s a Rob Roy you’ll be drinking; for the straight red vermouth, half and half red and white vermouths (a Perfect Manhattan); for the Angostura bitters, orange bitters (this is particularly nice).

          Rob Roy

          This variation on the Manhattan was introduced at New York’s Fifth-Avenue Hotel in 1897.

          2 1/2 ounces Scotch whisky
          3/4 ounces Italian sweet vermouth
          Dash Angostura Bitters

          Pour all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and stir as you would a Martini. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.


          The Verrazano takes the bourbon Manhattan—no rye Manhattan, but still a toothsome tipple—and bangs it into third gear. A little apricot brandy for lushness, a rinse of Campari (the impossibly red, impossibly bitter Italian aperitif), and the right vermouth and badabing badaboom! (As they say in stereotype-ridden dramatic entertainments set on the banks of the Verrazano Narrows.)

          Splash of Campari (for rinsing the glass)
          2 ounces 100-proof bourbon
          1 ounce Cinzano red vermouth
          1/2 teaspoon imported apricot brandy
          To finish: lemon peel

          Pour the Campari into a chilled cocktail glass, twirl it to coat, and pour the excess out. Stir  the bourbon, vermouth, and brandy (with ice, of course) and strain it into the glass; twist lemon peel over the top.


          Ryan Demonstrates How To Make a Manhattan.

          Chill cocktail glass and set aside
          In mixing glass add;
          2 oz Rye Whiskey
          1 oz Sweet Vermouth
          2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
          2 dashes of Regan’s or other Orange Bitters
          Add ice and stir
          Strain into chilled cocktail glass
          Garnish with maraschino cherry

          Rob Roy

          Ryan Demonstrates How To Make a Rob Roy.

          Rob Roy
          In mixing glass add;
          2 oz Blended Scotch Whiskey
          1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
          1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
          3 to 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
          Add ice and stir
          Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
          Garnish with lemon zest

          Reproduced from “Killer Cocktails” by David Wondrich.