A Manhattan is a cocktail made with rye or bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth (proportions vary from a "sweet" 1:1 to a "dry" 4:1, but the classic mixture is 2:1), and a dash of Angostura bitters, stirred with ice and strained into a Martini cocktail glass, garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem. A Manhattan is also frequently served on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass.
These days, bitters are omitted by many barmen unless specifically requested, however, purists will maintain the bitters are required to offset the sweetness of the whiskey and vermouth. Still, some tipplers add juice from the cherry jar or Maraschino liqueur to the cocktail for sweetness and color. Some recipes call for substituting orange bitters for the Angostura bitters.
The Manhattan has never quite measured up to its cousin, the Martini, whose delicate balance of flavors arguably create a more 'sophisticated' drink (as well as a more intoxicating drink due to larger proportions of distilled spirits in the drink). The Manhattan is a drinking man's cocktail: strong, urbane and simple. Interestingly, making a milder Manhattan for unsophisticated drinkers, by using more Vermouth and less whiskey, will appear to the drinkers as a stronger drink, because of the strong flavor of sweet red vermouth. Manhattans, along with cosmopolitans, recently became more popular due to their frequent consumption on the HBO television series, Sex and the City.
A popular myth suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented at a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. Enjoyable as the tale might be, research has debunked it.
Manhattans are traditionally made with brandy rather than bourbon in Wisconsin and a few surrounding areas. Therefore, it is crucial to specify your preferred spirit when traveling in these areas to avoid disappointment.
J.P. Morgan reportedly consumed a Manhattan at the end of every trading day on Wall Street.
The following are variations on the classic Manhattan :
- Rob Roy is made with Scotch whisky as its principal ingredient.
- Perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
- Cuban Manhattan is a Perfect Manhattan with dark rum as its principal ingredient.
- popular Florida option consists of a lime instead of the cherry, bitters, and dry vermouth. A Latin Manhattan is made with equal parts of white rum, sweet and dry vermouth, and a splash Maraschino cherry juice, served up with a twist.
The Mint Julep is a mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, distinctive to the southern U.S. , and well-known as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
The following is a sample recipe for one mint julep:
Several to a few dozen mint leaves
3 to 5 oz. (90 to 150 mL) of Kentucky bourbon
1 tsp. (5 mL) of granulated sugar
2 tsp. (10 mL) of spring water
Shaved or crushed ice
In a small bowl or glass muddle the mint, sugar, and water. Once the sugar is well dissolved, and the mixture has a good mint smell, stir in the bourbon. Pack a separate cup - preferably silver or pewter, but a highball will do - with crushed ice. Strain the bourbon mixture into the cup with the ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve with a drinking straw.
Some tips for success:
Strain well. Try to avoid getting any of the crushed mint in the final concoction.
Use fresh mint. Four or five large spearmint leaves work well. Most other mints have smaller leaves, adjust accordingly.
Instead of using sugar and water, use premixed sugar syrup. This helps avoid leaving grains of sugar in the drink.
The mint, bourbon, and sugar can be pre-mixed in larger quantities, but always pour it over the ice immediately before serving.
Here are the directions for making a Southern Style Mint Julep:
5-6 sprigs mint
1 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsps. water
2 1/2 oz bourbon
In a silver mug or collins glass, dissolve the powdered sugar with water. Then fill the glass with finely shaved ice. Next add the bourbon. Stir these contents until the glass is heavily frosted. Add more ice if necessary. (Do not hold glass with hand while stirring.) Decorate the drink with sprigs of fresh mint so that the tops are about two inches above the rim of the glass. Be sure to use short straws so that it will be necessary to bury the nose in mint, which is intended for scent rather than taste.
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