Last week, I was happily sitting outside in the sun and sipping away at a melon mojito; this week, I’m cozied up under a blanket with dog snuggled tight against me under an afghan and sipping away at a very classic fall drink – the Manhattan. I’m calling this a mostly classic Manhattan, as I did make a few small tweaks to the common recipe.
First off, as I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been slowly rebuilding my liquor cabinet contents since we moved back in March. I had more storage space, for one, in our old house, so had plenty of room to have things like a quarter full bottle of Midori floating around forever. In this house, if it doesn’t have an immediate use or purpose, there just isn’t enough room to keep it around. As a result, most of my half-open bottles of various liquors were donated to friends before we left, which apparently included both my whiskey and bourbon.
And then we moved and in the chaos of the move and setting up in a new place, my brain said – of course you still have whiskey and bourbon; why would you have left these staples behind? If only my moving brain and my current brain could get on the same page, I wouldn’t be left mid-recipe back in July for bourbon ribs having to scurry over to the liquor store to buy bourbon…
I digress, sort of. I did buy bourbon. I did not, however, replace the whiskey, which I, of course realized after I got home from the liquor store to buy the sweet vermouth and bitters for this recipe. So…substitution time. I made my mostly classic Manhattan with a honey bourbon, which is what I had on hand. I actually really liked the soft and subtle honey flavor in this and the orange bitters really complimented it. The orange bitters are not really classic – a true Manhattan would use Angostura bitters, but I have been in a citrus kind of mood, so quite enjoyed the blending of flavors that the bitters added.
This is a great sit-by-the-fire-and-sip drink. Serve it over ice and feel free to garnish as you choose – brandied cherries would be lovely in this, but the candied lemon was great, too. Yay for fall!
Mostly Classic Manhattan
2 ounces whiskey or bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
A few dashes of orange bitters
Candied lemon (recipe below)
Add the whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Serve over ice. Garnish with candied lemon.
1 lemon, sliced into 1/8th inch slices and de-seeded
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Boil 1 cup of the water and add the lemons. Boil for 1 minute and then drain. This blanching step helps to pull some of the bitterness out of the lemon rind.
Combine the remaining 1 cup of water and the sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the blanched lemons and cook on a low boil for an hour. Remove the lemon slices and let dry on a parchment lined baking sheet for 24 hours. These keep well in an airtight container.