Saturday Happy Hour — an Equal Parts Bourbon Manhattan
Half bourbon. Half vermouth. All delicious.
In this week’s subscriber-only newsletter, I covered a trio of Manhattan variants, all of which substitute a different base spirit for the traditional rye or bourbon whiskey. In some instances, there are other substitutions as well. But there are other ways to vary a Manhattan, even while sticking with a fairly traditional whiskey/sweet vermouth/Angostura bitters combo. Instead of switching out ingredients, for example, you can play with the drink’s proportions and presentation, as in the version below.
In its most conventional form, a Manhattan consists of two parts rye, one part sweet vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura bitters. It’s served up in a coupe or Nick & Nora glass, with a maraschino cherry for garnish.
This version relies on a 50/50 split of Old Grand-Dad 114, which at $35 or so a bottle is one of the great cheap thrills of overproof whiskey, and Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, plus three dashes of Angostura bitters. It’s served on the rock, with an orange peel for a garnish.
As with all Manhattans, this cocktail works because it’s a thoughtful, if somewhat over the top, pairing. In the glass, it’s a battle of titans: Both the Grand-Dad and the Carpano are bruisers. Yet it turns out they rumble pretty well when mixed together. It’s the cocktail equivalent of a well-matched arm wrestling contest — and you’re the winner.
Equal Parts Manhattan
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ½ ounces Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
1 ½ ounces Old Grand-Dad 114 bourbon
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
Add ice, then stir until thoroughly chilled.
Strain into a double rocks glass over a single, large piece of ice.
Garnish with an orange peel.
(I’d like to give credit for this drink, which I’m pretty sure I first encountered several years ago on some cocktail-world person’s Instagram feed. Unfortunately, I didn’t write it down at the time. If anyone recognizes this version and knows its origin story, I’ll happily update the post.)