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.
- 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!