Monday, April 23, 2012

Employees Only Manhattan


I have a somewhat embarrassing story regarding Manhattans and I would share it with all [three] of you but since this incident occurred in Las Vegas, I'm gonna keep to its tried and true slogan and not rehash those hazy memories here.

"What happens in..." 

What I will say, however, is that the Manhattan is probably the most screwed-up drink ever.  Craft cocktail bars know all about them.  Sadly though, so do most bartenders across this vast land.  So how can it be then that it's the most butchered cocktail of them all, you ask?  It's as simple as "shaken or stirred."

All bartenders, are taught how to assemble this drink when they go through their bar tending program.  The problem is, once they start working at a bar, all they make are bullshit-inis, artificially-flavored sweet n sour Margaritas,  crap n Coke's, Adios MF'ers, Cosmopolitans, 7 'n 7s and BJ's.  And when they are not doing that, they are pouring shots of Patron and mixing Red Bull into anything and calling it a cocktail.  So, as soon as someone comes into the bar and asks for a proper cocktail (the Manhattan), these bartenders are thrown off kilter.  They faintly remember how to put one together and in doing so, their proportions are off, they omit certain things (bitters) and incorporate others (artificially flavored/dyed maraschino cherry syrup) that have no business in the drink  - or any other, for that matter.  The kicker of course, is the shake.  I'm guessing they do this because nothing they serve is ever stirred for proper effect.  So it's an old habit and shaking looks cool, does it not?  it makes them look like they know what they are doing, right? 

For all these reasons, to me, the Manhattan is the most botched drink of all time.  Yes, there are other classic drinks that are on the Mount Rushmore of Cocktails but the others are not taught in these schools (Old Fashioned) or they are meant to be shaken (The Sidecar) so "no harm, no foul," as the late great Chick Hearn used to say.

Simply stated, a Manhattan is more likely to be ruined than any other drink and that's just my opinion stated as fact - and I'm sticking to it.  Hahaha       

What I made was a variation of the classic Manhattan  - a version served at Employees Only.  The recipe I used was provided by barman Dushan Zaric & Jason Kosmas.  Cheers! 

Employees Only Manhattan

1.5 oz Rye Whiskey 
1.75 oz Sweet Vermouth 
.5 oz Grand Marnier
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish:  Lemon Twist

Incorporate all of the ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Employees Only Manhattan - I like this version better than the original.  i would definitely recommend using a higher proof Rye (akin to the Rittenhouse 100 I used) to cut through some of the added sweetness that the Grand Marnier brings to this cocktail.  To perk things up a bit, the oils from a lemon peel or grapefruit peel are perfect functional garnishes.



Hardware & Software.



Remember, the garnish is not just a garnish.  Squeeze that bad boy over the top and brush it around the rim of the glass.  



"You're doing it all wrong!"



Perfect, my ass!  Shaken AND over more ice??  Don't they have editors for these things??



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