Perfect Manhattan


Published: 01/25/24

perfect manhattan
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The evolution of classic cocktails often hinges on nuanced modifications that respect the original’s integrity while introducing a twist. The Perfect Manhattan stands as a prime example of this approach to cocktail crafting. Distinct from the classic Manhattan, this riff achieves a unique balance by incorporating both sweet and dry vermouth in equal measures, alongside rye whiskey and Angostura bitters.

Originating in the late 19th century, the Manhattan has long held a revered spot in the cocktail pantheon. Its enduring popularity owes much to its simple yet robust flavor profile and versatility. The Perfect Manhattan, however, elevates this legacy by introducing a duality of vermouths. This not only adds depth to the flavor but also creates a more rounded and complex drinking experience.

The choice of rye whiskey as the base spirit is pivotal. Rye’s spicy, slightly peppery notes provide a robust foundation that complements the dual vermouths. This whiskey variety, known for its bold character, stands up well to the enhanced flavors brought by the combination of sweet and dry vermouth. The sweetness of the former rounds out the sharp edges of the whiskey, while the dry vermouth brings a subtle, herbaceous quality that adds an extra layer of complexity.

Angostura bitters, a staple in many classic cocktails, are crucial for their ability to unify and elevate the other ingredients. Just a few dashes are enough to introduce a hint of herbal complexity and a touch of bitterness, which balances the sweetness from the vermouth and the spiciness of the rye.

The method of preparation for a Perfect Manhattan also plays a significant role in its character. Stirring the ingredients with ice, rather than shaking, is preferred to avoid diluting the drink too much and to maintain its silky texture.

This cocktail’s name, “Perfect”, does not imply an improvement over the original Manhattan but rather denotes the specific and deliberate use of equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth. This nomenclature is a nod to the precision and care taken in balancing the vermouths to achieve a taste that is neither overly sweet nor excessively dry.

Beyond its taste, the Perfect Manhattan carries an air of sophistication and historical significance. It is a drink that appeals to those who appreciate the subtleties of a well-crafted cocktail. Its ability to maintain the robust essence of the traditional Manhattan while introducing a nuanced variation appeals to both purists and adventurers in the world of mixology.

Moreover, the Perfect Manhattan’s adaptability makes it a favorite among professional bartenders and home mixologists alike. Its straightforward recipe allows for experimentation with different brands of rye whiskey and vermouth, offering an array of flavor profiles to explore. This adaptability does not compromise the drink’s integrity but rather invites personalization and creative expression.

Perfect Manhattan Recipe

  1. 60 ml rye whiskey

  2. 15 ml sweet vermouth

  3. 15 ml dry vermouth

  4. 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  5. Ice

  6. Garnish: Maraschino cherry or lemon twist

the perfect manhattan

How to Make a Perfect Manhattan

  1. Add the rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters into a mixing glass.

  2. Add ice and stir for 10-12 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Strain into a coupe or Nick & Nora glass.

  4. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry or a lemon twist.

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