The original Manhattan, created in 1874 at the Manhattan Club in New York, was made with sweet vermouth and rye, which produces a smooth, mellow, cocktail. Over time, multiple variations of the Manhattan have developed, with tweaks to both the whiskey and the vermouth, so that today you can have a classic sweet Manhattan, made with only sweet vermouth; a dry Manhattan, made with only dry vermouth; or a perfect Manhattan, made with equal amounts of both. And as bourbon has become increasingly popular over the last few decades, it has found its way into the Manhattan in the place of the rye whiskey, giving a richer cocktail more bite and a hint of smokiness. Make yours according to your taste — sweet, dry, or perfect — and with either bourbon or rye. No matter what style you prefer, don't be afraid to use the bitters, as they make the drink fuller and more flavorful.
You know, one of the perks of being married to Carolyn is that she used to work as a bartender. So, while the following recipe is a good starting point, the one in the picture was actually made by eyeballing quantities pro-style, and substituting some dry vermouth grenadine for the sweet vermouth, which we didn't have. Oh, and you might notice that we put two cherries in each drink. It was extra good...
1/2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey
1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 Maraschino cherries
Fill a pitcher with ice and add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir vigorously until the outside of the pitcher is thoroughly beaded with sweat and is extremely cold to the touch.
Place a maraschino cherry in each cocktail glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass and either drop it in or not, according to taste. Strain the drink over the cherries and serve immediately.
Makes two 3-ounce drinks.