Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Bourbon Beginner: The Classic Manhattan

Manhattan with Bourbon Whiskey
A bottle of Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey landed in my hot little hands the other day and it took everything in me not to pull a swig right there at my PO Box. I know the rest of The Original Small Batch Bourbon Collection family well and almost always order a Booker's neat when I'm too lazy to leave my comfort zone. However, this bourbon was new to me.

For those of you who shy away from bourbon (and I know it's a lot of you), I would strongly suggest you live dangerously and try something new. And when you are brave enough to get out of your own comfort zone, I can recommend that you start with a bourbon like Basil Hayden's. The proof is only 80 (instead of 100 or higher) with a noticeable taste of honey and pepper. You can also ease yourself in as a bourbon drinker by adding a little bit of water to take the edge off, gradually building up to the moment when you order it straight. And then of course there's the classic Manhattan, a sophisticated cocktail that will quickly become a favorite.

Manhattan With Basil Hayden's
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
Splash sweet vermouth
3-4 shakes bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini glass or mix the ingredients at room temperature and serve neat.

If you like bourbon, try this drink I made for The Bachelorette or this one using Angel's Envy.

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  1. a splash of sweet vermouth? Classically, more than a splash. Or pass the cork over the poured bourbon.

    1. Pass the cork over as in wave the vermouth over the martini?

      You are right- many traditional recipes call for as much as an ounce of sweet vermouth and even dry vermouth for a Perfect Manhattan. But those same recipes also call for 1-2 dashes of bitters, which I don't think is enough.

      What is your ideal Manhattan recipe? It sounds as if you may know your way around a bar.