Manhattan’s in May … HOLY CRAP!

by KeithP on May 26, 2011

HOLY CRAP!!! ………………………………………..

HOLY CRAP!!! ………………………………………..

Simple and complete — no need to say more.  So what pray tell you may ask was the cause of my reaction above?  The drink recipe I offer below and one that I hope you have an opportunity to try.

After our all-together great time spent with the Little Italy and knowing that our journey was going to require some road work we opted to hit the home base and give a rather antique version of our recipe a try.  In doing research for our list of Manhattan’s in May candidates, theSpeakista did a little exploring around Paul’s site (as usual) and came across his post on the Jerry Thomas Manhattan.  As I have been in possession of a bottle of George T. Stagg and save making Staggeracs or de-proofing it for sipping, I have longed for a drink that would show case it adequately.  The Jerry Thomas Manhattan looked ideal for my purposes and judging by Paul’s, Chuck’s and Erik’s comments on the recipe, I knew that I was in for something special.

What an understatement on my part …

Jerry Thomas Manhattan
Recipe sourced from the Cocktail Chronicles blog (originally created by Jerry Thomas – 1887 version) and adapted by theSpeakista

•    2 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica was used)
•    1 oz cask-strength rye or bourbon (George T. Stagg Bourbon – 143 proof edition)
•    2 dashes of aromatic bitters (The Bitter Truth Aromatic bitters)
•    2 dashes of maraschino liqueur (Luxardo was used)
•    2 dashes of absinthe (Kubler was used)
Garnish: Luxardo cherry
Glass: cocktail coupe or cocktail glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and a julep strainer

Assembly: Stir this glorious mix of ingredients together in a mixing glass with plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice for a minute or two.  Strain, garnish and serve up.

The verdict: Extremely aromatic on the nose, the drink has wonderful floral and herbal notes against a nice “spice” hint from the bitters.  On the palate … oh my heavens, where have you been all my life?  Not at all what I expected with a 140+ proof spirit; I expected it to be too strong to drink with the “heat” of the spirit taking over.  Instead this drink is extremely smooth in texture and possesses a lush, almost blanket like quality as it coats your mouth through ever sip.  Slightly sweet at first, the drink opens up to reveal this amazing bourbon in all of its glory.  On the mid and after palate is the floral and botanical notes from different players and a lingering, long bitterness caps the experience off perfectly.  Heaven in a glass!!

Oh my goodness … I think I need to change my religious beliefs.  Actually, I just need another one of these to sip on.  We have many more stops left on our Manhattan’s in May journey but frankly after stopping off at home and having one (several) of these, I am not all-together sure I want to get back in the car.  Let’s see if my driver can coax me out of my slumber tomorrow for the plan is to hit the turnpike … and what a thrill that always is.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

erik.ellestad May 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Ha! Excellent!

It is also deelicious with Thomas Handy, though I believe the original called for “4 dashes” of bitters.

KeithP June 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Thank you Erik. up the bitters and improve this amazing drink even more? A challenge i’m willing to take up.

SpiritedAlchemy October 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Interesting. So do you now prefer Manhattans where the vermouth is the largest component?

I do not have cask strength bourbon or rye at home (I use Templeton for my Manhattans) so I cannot try this. I just go the old fashioned way and use a 2:1 ratio of rye to Carpano.

KeithP October 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I’m an Old School kinda guy and pref the standard version with some twists — interesting because I’ve done some experimentation and found that slight tweaks to the ratios depending upon spirit and vermouth can make a difference. The Jerry Thomas Manhattan is just fabulous. There really is something about the intense flavor profile offered in a cask strength spirit that lends itself to such variation. If you can get your hand on such a spirit, use the heck out of it because you’ll love it.

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