The Manhattan is my favorite cocktail, especially in cold weather. It is a bracing drink, spicy but smooth, and easy to drink if made properly. It--along with its Scotch brother, the Rob Roy--is my go to wintertime cocktail. I'm going to show you how to make one. Now, before any cocktail purists get all upset with me, this is not the definitive Manhattan or anything. It's just how I like a Manhattan.
What you need:
*Whiskey. Rye is the preferred, traditional brown liquor, but if all you have is bourbon (like my Old Weller Antique), it will do.
*Sweet vermouth. Now this is important. I use Carpano Antica, which is a bit pricey, but completely worth it. It is spicy, rich, and sweet, and quite drinkable on its own. I tried using grocery store sweet vermouths like Martini & Rossi, but they lent my Manhattans a funky flavor. I've heard good things about Punt e Mes and Vya sweet vermouths, but they--like Carpano Antica--are a bit harder to find. I think the search is worth it, though.
*Bitters. Angostura are traditional, but ever since having a deliciously orange-y Manhattan at New York's Von, I use Fee Brothers Orange Bitters.
*Dry vermouth. Actually, this is an alternate ingredient. Manhattans only have sweet vermouth in them, but I prefer a Perfect Manhattan, which uses half sweet and half dry vermouth.
*A cocktail shaker or pitcher for mixing
*A jigger or something to measures 2 ounces and 1 ounce of liquid
Put a few cubes of ice in your shaker/pitcher. (I have a metal shaker with a strainer I sometimes use, but I also like using my Blendo pitcher, especially if I'm making more than one drink.) Pour in 2 ounces of whiskey.
If you're making a regular Manhattan, you'll now add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth. If you're making my preference, the Perfect Manhattan, you'll add 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth and 1/2 ounce dry vermouth. Shake in 2-3 drops of bitters.
Stir. Vigorously. For a full minute at least. You could shake, but I prefer stirring. It's purely cosmetic, in my opinion. I don't think it makes any difference in taste, but stirring makes a clearer, less cloudy drink.
You can serve it up (no ice) in a chilled glass (cocktail or martini glasses are often used), or on the rocks in a tumbler. I prefer mine served up. Manhattans are traditionally served with a Maraschino cherry as a garnish, but I prefer a twist of orange peel. I didn't have an orange on hand though, so I made this one with no garnish.
Chin chin! Cheers! Sláinte!