On of the most iconic and widely recognized classic cocktails is the Manhatten. I’ve written about it a number of times on this blog; in fact, it was one of my earliest posts last September. One of the things that makes the Manhatten such a classic is its simplicity. With only three ingredients to work with, it’s a drink you’d better make well if you want to be respected as a bartender, home or otherwise. The Manhatten is also all about balance. Again, with so few ingredients at play, there’s very little room for error, and if our proportions are not perfect, it’ll be readily apparent. It’s also a cocktail that is open for personal interpretation. Once you understand the basic rules, you’ll be able to swap out the spirits and come up with your own version.
I do love a good Manhatten, especially one made according to the classic rye whiskey recipe. I will confess, though, that I tend to veer away from heavier drinks during the summer months just because I’m looking for something that is refreshing with less weight to it. Since last Monday’s post I’ve continued to peruse Sasha Petraske Regarding Cocktails for variations on the classics, and I was so excited to come across a recipe that he and Sam Ross had created in the early days of Milk & Honey. It’s a variation of the Manhatten that uses rye whiskey, but lightens things up with the addition of dry vermouth, Amaro Montenegro, and cucumber slices. It’s still a minimalist drink with classic structure and balance, but it definitely has more summertime appeal for me. I feel like anything with cucumber in it is high up on the refreshment scale.
Add 2 cucumber slices to a mixing glass and gently bruise with a muddler. Add the rye, amaro, and vermouth, fill the glass with ice, and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the remaining cucumber slice. Cheers!