Friday Night Cocktails: Manhattan

After a long week there is nothing better on a Fall or Winter night than the first sip of an expertly made Manhattan while surrounded by good friends. Intoxicating in every sense of the word, it's a cold, complex rush of flavor and aroma, especially when served up in a martini glass.

I developed a deep affection for this cocktail while living in Manhattan.  It's a drink that will always be synonymous with that period of my life because its also when I met my boyfriend, John, and developed a deep affection for him too.  It's his drink of choice year round and I've yet to be served a Manhattan that rival's the ones he makes.  Here's how he does it:

Manhattan (makes one)

4 oz Bourbon

1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth (I like Carpano Antica vermouth)

2 dashes of bitters

1 cocktail cherry

A few hours before you might want a very strong cocktail, run a martini glass under running water and put it in the freezer to chill.  Later on, fill a Yarai mixing glass or the can of a metal cocktail shaker with ice, bourbon, vermouth, and bitters.  Using a bar spoon, stir the contents of the glass until thoroughly chilled (longer than you think).  Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a cocktail cherry.  It's worth upgrading on the cherries you use as garnish here since it imparts quite a bit of flavor to the drink, but the ubiquitous maraschino has never let me down either.