Friday, 21 February 2014

The Manhattan Cherry Wars

A need to keep the glacé cherries under lock and key was not what I expected from married life. Rows about emptying the dishwasher and whose turn it is to clean the bathroom maybe but not cherry wars. The only reason I keep them in the house is as a garnish for that wondrous cocktail: the Manhattan. Cherry related skirmishes break out when I go to make a much needed cocktail and I find the cherries have been "disappeared". The Husband is officially a demon for them.

I think I like a Manhattan because it is a serious drink. When I'm in a "don't mess with me" mood I need a hard core cocktail to accessorize my scowl. A decent Manhattan is a complex, warming invigoration of a drink. The perfect remedy for the down at heart on a winter's evening.

If you order a Manhattan in a bar you might be asked if you would like it "sweet, dry or perfect". This just refers to the type of vermouth that is used, perfect referring to a 50:50 mixture of dry and sweet vermouth. I used to like them perfect but now I think that the traditional sweet version is a better balanced drink. In fact, I often add a little extra sweetness in the form of a dash of simple syrup. I couldn't resist using a simple syrup I had which is infused with ginger and spices. It sits well with the inherent complexity of the bourbon.
60 mL good quality bourbon (I'm using Maker's Mark at the moment though I do also like Woodford reserve)
30mL sweet vermouth
3 dashes bitters (angostura or orange bitters)
dash of simple syrup (I used my Christmas spice syrup)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or pint glass. Add plenty of ice and stir until very cold. Strain into a cocktail glass (you can also serve it over ice in an Old Fashioned glass). Garnish with a cherry, if you can find one.

You can hear me talking about the Manhattan on the Flavour show on Cambridge 105, podcast available here

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