Discover more from Wonkette
Welcome To The Wonkette Emergency Cocktail, The Rye Manhattan!
When the going gets tough, the tough get drinking.
Greetings, Wonketeers! I’m Hooper, your bartender. And we seem to be having a wee bit of an emergency here. This calls for a classic response — something elegant, relaxed, and very booze-forward. Judging by this week’s news, we’re gonna need a LOT of it. Let’s make up a letter-perfect Rye Manhattan. And then let’s make up an entire batch of them, because we’re going to need additional fortification to make it to the weekend. Here’s the recipe:
2 oz Whistlepig 6 Year Rye Whiskey
1 oz Campari Antico Sweet Vermouth
2 shakes Angostura Bitters
In a stirring vessel, stir together all ingredients over ice for at least 30 seconds, or until the outside of the vessel feels cool to the touch. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with 3 Luxardo cherries.
Rye Manhattan (Batched)
2 cups Whistlepig 6 Year Rye Whiskey
1 cup Campari Antico Sweet Vermouth
½ cup water
1 tsp Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a sealable bottle and let rest in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Serve in a chilled glass with a Luxardo cherry garnish. Serves 4-5.
I need to jog my memory to make some cocktails. I can’t make a Blue Hawaiian off the top of my head. I need to consult my recipe books to make a Singapore Sling. But I can make you a perfect Manhattan in my sleep. (At the end of a long shift, I’ve done exactly that.) The 2:1:2 ratio — 2 parts rye, 1 part vermouth, 2 shakes bitters — is tattooed on the inside of my brain. It’s so easy when you master it, and so very, very good. There are a bajillon variations on the Manhattan. Mostly they swap around an ingredient or two. Generally they are named after a borough in New York. I’ve tried my hand at the game a few times, but nothing quite tops the classic.
Support Wonkette! If you want to support Wonkette!
With this in mind, you may be wondering why I’ve added water to the batched version of the drink. Truth is, there’s a hidden ingredient in this cocktail (in any cocktail, really) — the meltwater from the ice you use to chill the drink. It’s not crucial in a fruity shaken cocktail, like a pina colada, but maintaining the correct dilution level in a spirit-forward drink matters. That’s why martinis are stirred, not shaken (sorry, Mr. Bond). Shaking a cocktail adds more water to the drink. Stirring lets you chill the cocktail with a minimum of dilution — but you do need some dilution, or the cocktail won’t have the right texture or balance. The water in the batched Manhattan stands in for the diluted water.
Batching cocktails has become increasingly popular at top-end bars. You can mix subtle multi-ingredient drinks before the shift, keep them on tap during service, and get the drinks in front of customers lightning fast. I’ve batched martinis for vacations before, and I’ve been meaning to batch Manhattans for Wonkette for a while. The biggest problem with batching a Manhattan is it becomes too easy to pour one on a moment’s notice, and they’re gone before you know it.
Let’s talk ingredients:
Whistlepig 6 Year Rye Whiskey: I’ve been meaning to try Whistlepig for a while. It’s a bit pricey for most of the recipes I write, but today demanded the big guns. I’m very glad I spent the money. Whistlepig is a Vermont-based distiller dedicated to local sourcing wherever possible. This bottle is 100 percent rye, which is surprising. Most rye whiskey is 51 percent rye or less, the balance being corn or wheat. The complexity of this single-ingredient rye is amazing; I read crisp, almost menthol notes from a Manhattan made with this rye. It’s a perfect “sweater weather” cocktail. If you don’t want to spend quite so much, I recommend Bulleit or Redemption rye as alternatives.
Campari Antico Sweet Vermouth: You can get cheap vermouth or good vermouth. There’s no in between. Campari Antico is good. When I try cheap sweet vermouth, I get brassy, oxidized flavors. Campari is always rich and decadent. Remember that vermouth is wine, not booze. Keep it in the fridge after you open it or it’ll go bad in days.
Angostura Bitters: Angostura is the classic choice for a Manhattan. I’ve got some great spiced cherry bitters in the liquor cabinet, but those are for my Old Fashioneds. A Manhattan made with rye demands herbal notes to feel complete.
Water: If the stuff from your faucet is iffy, buy better water. I prefer Liquid Death bottled water for this drink. It’s iron-free and the branding is far too much fun to ignore.
Preparation: Stir at least 15 seconds, no more than 30. A thick-walled cocktail beaker will be harder to chill. Be patient. Remember, meltwater is an ingredient; give the ice time to melt a little.
Presentation: An ice-cold martini glass is a must. A cold glass maintains the temperature of the cocktail without ice, and a stemmed glass lets you pick up the drink without warming it with your hands. The batched version of the drink can take rougher handling. It’s already far colder than any stirred Manhattan, so if you don’t have time to chill a glass you’ll still do fine. DO NOT SERVE A MANHATTAN ON THE ROCKS. Please. We aren’t barbarians here.
Garnish: Use Luxardoes. We’re due for a treat. I’m going to lean on a piece of martini superstition here — add 1 cherry, or 3, but not 2. An even number of garnishes is bad luck. We need all the luck we can get.
See you lot on Friday. I’ll have a fussy, sugar-coated dessert martini waiting for you. Be good until then.
In summary and conclusion, drink well, drink often, and tip your bartender — donate to Wonkette at the link below! And if you'd like to buy some bar gear or books from Amazon, please click here!
You can find me on Threads and Insta at samurai_grog!
OPEN THREAD AGAIN!
Wonkette is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.