Writer’s Workshop: Mom’s Favorite Cocktail

Image by Catalin Stefan from Pixabay

Mom loved Manhattans, one of those traditional cocktails that’s falling out of fashion as drinkers get younger. Although, my brother Pat (who’s close to 20 years younger than I) goes out on his parents’ birthdays (Mom’s and his father’s, my stepfather) and maybe their anniversary and has a Manhattan in their honor. I think that’s a very nice tradition.

When I turned 13, Mom taught me how to make the drink. She preferred them on-the-rocks as opposed to in a cocktail glass. The two main ingredients are whiskey and sweet vermouth. Rye whiskey is traditional, but Mom preferred Canadian and others prefer bourbon. Using dry vermouth makes it a dry Manhattan; using both dry and sweet vermouth makes it a perfect Manhattan. The optional ingredient is bitters. Mom always preferred Angostura bitters, but you might prefer Peychaud or some other formulation.

The garnish is a Maraschino cherry (or two), though with dry vermouth some prefer a twist of lemon.

The recipe:

  • 2 oz. (60 ml) whiskey (rye, Canadian, or bourbon) (I always made them with 3 oz. (90 ml) of whiskey until I got yelled at…)
  • 1 oz. (30 ml) vermouth (sweet, dry, or half-sweet/half dry)
  • Dash (1 ml) bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. (Or, pour the ingredients into an "on-the-rocks" glass filled with ice.) Garnish with a cherry or a twist of lemon.

If you use Scotch whiskey, it’s called a Rob Roy. Slainte!

16 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Mom’s Favorite Cocktail

  1. I tried to make a Rob Roy and it I don’t think I liked it. I tend to opt for drinks that completely mask any hint of alcohol. Your mom was the real deal!


    1. The old-timers either went with highballs (7 & 7, Jack and Coke) or real drinks with real booze in them. In his drinking days, Dad used to drink Martinis, the real ones with gin and vermouth. I was always a shot and a beer kind of guy…


  2. This theme was one of my favs and unfortunately I didn’t visit as much as I wanted to. I will definitely have to come back later and find the ones I missed. I’m with you on that I felt a little rushed even though I had them all planned in my head…(they were not all written). I like the ‘wing ding’ attempt at it but then you don’t get to be part of the theme reveal, which seems to add more flavor to the posts. Any hoot I am glad you will be back hosting for next year. One day I would like to be part of that…. I did buy a T-shirt and I love it. I may have to see if there are any leftovers from the previous years just because I like it so much and never bought one before. And I like the Survivor themed ones. (Which I have survived quite a few). If you have an extra few minutes feel free to check out my Reflections No pressure! ☺

    Have a great day!


  3. They had them for Happy Hour at a bar near Michigan State University when i was a freshman there. They seemed ok, but don’t remember them all that well! Your mom sounds nice.


  4. Brandy manhattan, over please. It’s been my drink forever and I’ve been to a few concerts where they don’t carry the ingredients anymore. I scramble to think of a substitute.


  5. John,

    I don’t drink adult beverages. I never carried for the taste of anything with alcohol even in foods. Give me a milk shake or tall glass of cola and I’m a happy girl! Your brother’s tradition is a nice one and I like doing things to honor those who are no longer with us, too. Like this year, I baked a German chocolate cake in memory of DH’s dad. That was his favorite cake, so it just seemed fitting to make one. 🙂 Have a good day, my friend!


    1. I don’t drink anymore, not since I developed high blood presasure and had to take meds to keep it down. But it is nice what Pat’s doing.


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