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Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail Recipe & Variations

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Garnishes:

  • maraschino cherries to garnish

Mix:

  1. Add Bourbon, bitters, Vermouth, and ice into a mixing glass
  2. Stir, then strain into a coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a cherry of your choice in the glass or on a pick.

Additional Information:

Cocktail connoisseurs know of the importance that stirring plays on the classic Manhattan. Some subscribe to exactly 30 stirs around the glass, letting the ice slightly dilute the cocktail to release many flavors. Those who struggle to keep track of exact stirs should look for a slight haze of condensation above the stirred liquid in the glass. When this haze begins to appear, your cocktail is ready to be strained into a coupe glass.

Traditionally, Manhattans are made up – stirred with ice and strained into a cold glass.

History of the Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

There’s a reason why the classic “2-1-2” rule is used for a Bourbon Manhattan. The origin of many cocktails is lost in time. However, the classic Manhattan cocktail has evidence of some truth in its name.

The area code for Manhattan residence is 212; coincidentally, the ratio used to make the famous cocktail. According to TASTE Cocktails, one of the many theories of the Manhattan’s origin is that it was created in the early 1880s when “Dr. Iain Marshall came up with the recipe for a party that was held at the Manhattan Club in New York City.” It is said that Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, held the party that popularized the cocktail.

Today, many believe the Manhattan’s origin to be a tale. History suggests that Lady Randolph Churchill would have been pregnant with Winston at the time, debunking the idea of his mother partying in New York. Others suggest the Manhattan was invented by a man going by the name of “Black,” who lived a few homes away from a bar on Broadway near Houston Street.

However history spins its origin, the classic Manhattan recipe remains the same. 2 ounces of whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet Vermouth, and 2 dashes of bitters. However, the Manhattan can also take alternate forms by using various whiskey types, including bourbon and Canadian whisky.

Now, we take on a new riff on nearly 150 years of tradition with the Bourbon Manhattan and its many variants.

Recipe Ingredients

While Manhattans are classically made with Rye Whiskey, the Bourbon Manhattan follows the standard Manhattan cocktail recipe but substitutes bourbon in place of the Rye Whiskey. For the broadest flavor profile, we recommend our flagship Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The bottled-in-bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon has a taste profile that hints of rye spices, including clove, cinnamon, mint, and dark berry leading into a brambly red-black finish amid white pepper and clove. The ingredient list for a classic Bourbon Manhattan includes 2 oz New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and maraschino cherries to garnish.

Cocktail exploration is important. Pick different brands of bitters that you know and love while finding the best Vermouth you believe will pair well with our Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Read on for tips, tricks, and variants that add a new riff on traditional Bourbon Manhattan.

Variations

Our expert mixologists embody a new riff on an old tradition. For those who want a delicious classic, check out our recipe for the Perfect Manhattan. This cocktail uses the New Riff Straight Rye Whiskey with 1/2 oz of both sweet and dry Vermouth to create a perfect flavor combination.

For those who wish to find variants on the Bourbon Manhattan recipe, consider varying your choice of both bitters and Vermouth. Try mixing one cocktail using dry Vermouth (Contratto Dry Vermouth) and another with sweet Vermouth (Cocchi Sweet Vermouth). Cocchi Sweet Vermouth is the perfect Vermouth with a fair rating and affordable price point. It also pairs well with New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon, as it is not too dry, herbal, sweet, and syrupy. Follow the Perfect Manhattan by combining a 1/2oz of each to your Bourbon Manhattan.

Aromatic Angostura Bitters are a classic must-have for nearly any Manhattan. However, substituting for orange bitters provides a sweet flavor profile that balances quite well with our Kentucky Straight Bourbon as well. No matter which bitters you choose, make sure you add a heavy dash – nearly a 1/4oz is perfect. Lastly, adding a slight bit of maraschino cherry juice or a small orange peel around the rim adds an unbeatable flavor.

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