Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Manhattan

Those out there who have strong opinions on such things:

1) I hear different versions of what a Manhattan ought to be made of: rye or bourbon

Back in college I was making them with Jim Beam rye, and the results were so-so. Tonight I tried making one using Marker Mark bourbon. It was pretty darn good. (But then, Markers Mark is pretty darn good...) Which leads to the second question:

2) How good a whiskey needs to go into a Manhattan? Is putting Makers Mark into a Manhattan overkill? I hesitate to have Markers Mark any way but on the rocks -- and yet there's the principle that good mixing requires good ingredients.

When dealing with gin, I use Citadelle or Bombay Safire for martinis (or straight up) but Gordons for Gin and Tonic and Gimlets. Is there a similar hierarchy of bourbons appropriate for different drinks? And if so, what is the appropriate bourbon for a Manhattan?

19 comments:

Big Tex said...

Maker's Mark is a nice bourbon. I prefer it on the rocks as well, but I do like it straight... no ice.

Darwin said...

I prefer scotch and Irish whiskey straight (no ice) but for some reason Makers strikes me as needing some ice (about half a cube). I don't know if it's the coldness or that as it dissolves it dillutes it a little, but ice seems to be the way to go for me.

John Farrell said...

What??! No Beefeater? Not even for G&T's? (cough, splutter, gag)

:)

Father Martin Fox said...

Maker's Mark is just right for Manhattan's. Knob Creek should not be mixed with anything except perhaps branch water.

Deep Furrows said...

Perhaps MM for the first one. For the second one, don't worry about it.

Darwin said...

What??! No Beefeater? Not even for G&T's? (cough, splutter, gag)

Call me a cheapskate, but basically: Gordons is way cheaper in a 1.5L than Beefeater. So I got a little more bottom shelf for my G&T, and a little more top shelf for martini's and the poor Beefeater gets left out.

Actually, I think I've only had Beefeater once or twice at bars -- I've never bought it. How would you rate it, John? (And what's your top shelf gin?)

Knob Creek should not be mixed with anything except perhaps branch water.

Hmmmm. Have to make a note to try Knob Creek some time. I'd thought I didn't like bourbon after an unfortunate experience in college -- until I bought a bottle of Makers and found that, while not (to my mind) as good as scotch, bourbon can be quite good indeed.

Father Martin Fox said...

Darwin - I think by and large, people tend either to like Scotch, or Bourbon, but those who like both seem unusual. (I like Bourbon.)

FYI, I'm having a Manhattan -- made with MM. But: is it permissible to have it without a cherry? Is that still a Manhattan?

Fidei Defensor said...

While I can't solve your dilema, I will take this opportunity to put in a good word for Dr. Pepper and Brandy.

Charles said...

I'm quite content using Seagram's 7 for my Manhattans, though I'm admittedly a neophyte and a cheapskate. I'd appreciate a better alternative in a similar price range, if anyone feels so inclined.

Either way, you're not forgetting the bitters, right?

And Yes, Fr. Fox, I'm a firm believer that a Manhattan without a cherry is a fundamentally disordered Manhattan.

Father Martin Fox said...

Charles:

Alas, alas! No cherries!

But then, isn't Seagrams Canadian "whisky"? I'll have no lectures on Manhattans under those circumstances!

Charles said...

Oh my. I've been using Canadian whiskey and French vermouth. That's less a Manhattan than it is a Montreal. This is why I need to comment less and lurk more.

Father Martin Fox said...

Charles:

To be fair, I think everyone uses either French or Italian vermouth, don't they? I suppose there might be any number of places that produce it, but I would guess most vermouth (isn't it just a sort of wine? Does anyone drink it by itself?) comes from those two countries...

Father Martin Fox said...

Oh, and I immediately apologize for my sloppy use of pronouns -- "everyone" takes a he, or a he/she, but never "they."

Charles said...

Fr. Fox, You certainly need not apologize for any sloppy pronouns- I'm public school educated. As far as drinking straight vermouth, the only time that comes to mind was Andie McDowell having a "sweet vermouth on the rocks" in the bar scene in "Groundhog Day".

I think I'm going to have to pick up some Maker's Mark for next weekend.

By the way, am I the only one who has been buying Gosling's Black and Reed's ginger ale since that thread on Dark 'n Stormy's a few weeks ago?

Darwin said...

I confess to having tried both varieties of vermouth straight, simply to see what the ingredient is adding to the finished product... That, and also occasionally having a 50/50 vodka martini, which is the way to go if you want to get a clear taste of the dry vermouth dominating the drink. With a gin martini, you're not going to taste the vermouth very clearly anyway.

Actually, I'm nearly out of Black Seal, and straight out of Reeds. Need to do that again one of these days. I'd been enjoying getting back to fall/winter type drinks so much that I'd let some of the summer ones fall by the wayside.

Big Tex said...

I guess my idea of a winter drink would be a stout, porter or dopplebock. A summer drink would be on the order of a red ale, copper ale, or hefeweizen. :-)

Scotch is generally a splurge when I'm out and about. Same with a Maker's Mark.

I generally tend towards non-distilled spirits.

Matthew Lickona said...

Now y'all are wandering into my neck of the woods...

Sometimes you mix a drink to hide flaws in the liquor. Sometimes you mix a drink to make something sublime, something greater than the sum of its parts. (By the by, I vote for a few slivers of orange peel - or bitters - to go along with that cherry). So as with so many things, it's all according.

Makers Mark is a marvelous bourbon, a gentle bourbon, a mild bourbon. It does indeed make a very fine Manhattan.

I actually find Knob Creek a bit rough around the edges, especially neat. And it lacks a certain sunshiney sweetness - as if the oak's gone and added some bitter tannin over those nine years of aging.

Do try Wild Turkey 101 in your Manhattan. A different experience from the Maker's - more robust, but still oak-sweet - but the house preference here at Casa Lickona.

And if somebody else is buying the next round, keep an eye out for Blanton's. Outstanding stuff, but really expensive.

Tim said...

That is what I like about being Catholic- no fear of alcohol like some Protestants.

alicia said...

Maker's Mark is just right for the Manhattan - but I like to use Dubonnet in mine rather than generic vermouth. Or you can make a really different drink by using Madeira instead of the vermouth.
I also like to put a drunken cherry in mine. To intoxicate your cherries, pour off the syrup from a jar of maraschino cherries, and pour over them whatever 80 to 100 proof booze you fancy. Let sit a while before using.