Will Terry's Guide to Drinking While Being a Vaguely Responsible Adult-Like Substance
Vol. 1, Issue 1 - That's Right, I'm a Father: The Perfect Manhattan
Vanderbilt doesn’t offer scholarships for it, or even want to admit that it’s a sport… but students at Vandy come to play when alcohol is involved. In college, I didn’t get beyond Coke and whatever bottle was closest, but I thought I’d share my newly refined palette. Later, I will post the recipe for my hunch punch that allows you to feel like an undergrad until the next morning.
The Perfect Manhattan:
Full disclosure: this isn’t a recipe for a perfect Manhattan, which involves 50/50 sweet and dry vermouth.
Let’s start with making your own Maraschino cherries. Your other option is to order Luxardo cherries and call it a day… but it’s not that hard to make your own. Grocery stores sell tart cherries. Drain the liquid into a saucepan, add some sugar (I don’t measure things, I have a philosophy degree) and boil down to half. If you want add some spice, this is the time. Orange peel, ginger, cinnamon or anything you can think of. Toss the cherries into a mason jar, pour the liquid over it and then fill with Luxardo. I haven’t found a decent substitute for Luxardo, and all my other cherry marinations have gone horribly wrong. Toss the whole thing in the fridge and let it marinate for a few days.
Now, actually making the drink… it’s a pretty simple combination of 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. Shockingly, the ingredients make a difference.
Whiskey: People think of the Manhattan as a bourbon drink, and most bourbon will make a fine Manhattan… personally, I prefer Rye. The spice plays better with the sweet vermouth and you get a more balanced drink. Rittenhouse 100 is my go to, but you can pick your own whiskey. If you want to go bourbon, I suggest a high rye. Four Roses Single Barrel is a great bourbon choice for a Manhattan. Personally, I don’t think the high wheat bourbons work well with Manhattans. Larceny, Weller, or Maker’s.
Vermouth: Martini and Rossi is the easiest sweet vermouth to find. It’s fine. It works, but it’s not my preferred choice. I have a buddy who swears by Gallo. It’s cheaper and honestly, it’s better than Martini and Rossi, but I like Dolin. The other thing you need to know about vermouth is that it’s a fortified wine, and needs to be treated as such. Once you open it, finish it quickly and keep it in the fridge… it will spoil.
Bitters: The traditional choice is Angostura. They are a great choice. Simple, classic, easy to find… but you can add your own spin on a Manhattan very easily with a change. Personally, I like blood orange bitters. Easy to find, adds a fresher taste… but go wild. I have chocolate bitters that add an interesting flavor, I’ve done peach, lemon and grapefruit. I’ve seen Memphis BBQ bitters (but didn’t try them, sorry).
Mix 2 parts whiskey, 1 part Sweet Vermouth and a dash of bitters over ice, stir (don’t shake) and strain into a new glass
So, long story short:
Manhattan: 2 parts Bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters
The Will Terry Vanderbilt Manhattan:
2 parts Rittenhouse Rye, 1 part Dolin Sweet Vermouth, and a dash of blood orange bitters. Strain and pour over homemade maraschino cherries.
*Editor's note: Will Terry always took his drinking more seriously than his studies... and we salute him for it. "Will Terry's Guide to Drinking" was inspired by VandyTigerPhD's "Anchors Aweight" series, which I'm only calling a series to goad VandyTigerPhD into publishing more recipes.