Drink of the month: Manhattan
By the end of my month of amaro, I was ready to get back to mixed drinks, and to a classic one at that. The Manhattan is almost as much of a classic as the Martini, and subject to as many variations and nearly as much controversy. Sweet red vermouth or dry white? Maraschino cherry or plain? Angostura bitters or orange? Does Canadian Club really count as "rye whiskey"? And the proportions have varied so much over the last 130 years that it's hard to say what should be canonical.
So, rather than looking for the perfect Manhattan (and certainly not a "Perfect Manhattan", which is anything but), I plan to enjoy the variety on offer. A Dry Manhattan (with dry vermouth, and a twist in place of a cherry) makes a better aperitif, while the sweetness of the whiskey and red vermouth make for a lovely after-dinner cocktail, with the cherry as a little reward at the end for the sweet-toothed. I consider the Rob Roy a waste of good Scotch, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.
One would expect that any bar capable of a good Martini should be able to knock out a decent Manhattan, but there are variables (such as the availability of proper rye) that could make all the difference. Sadly, while the bars participating in next weekend's 201st birthday of the cocktail are emulating New Orleans, London and Paris, nowhere will be doing New York. And the last time I was at the Manhattan Lounge, it didn't look like they had the correct ingredients to make their namesake, though they'll be worth a visit to see how they've come along. So: any nominations of where to try or avoid? Is there anywhere in town that does a Manhattan as "soopoibly" as Bart?