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Jan 28, 2007 05:41 PM

Manhattan - orange garnish?

I realize I may get a lot of crap for this, but I have just recently fallen for manhattan's, in fact, I am partaking in one right now. I have indulged in both shaken and stirred, but the stirred are my favorite. And after experimenting with a few different garnishes I have found a wedge of orange to be my favorite, much better than a cherry. Has anyone else tried this? Any other opinons on how to make a manhattan?

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  1. The best reference for a Manhattan --

    Stirring is definitely the way to go. As a general rule (there are some exceptions) any drink without citrus or egg should be stirred. The rest shaken.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fafner

      There aren't just some exceptions, there are a ton of exceptions. Like the whole idea of bruising gin- old wives tale.

    2. I hate the modern Maraschino cherry, an abomination from the dark days of Prohibition when the original booze-pickled cherry garnish was outlawed. I now make my own infused cherries for Manhattans (dried sour cherries plumped up with Maraschino liqueur). At bars that only have those unnaturally colored things, I request the cherry in my Manhattan be omitted in favor of a lemon twist (not a slice or wedge). But it seems than an orange twist (again, not a slice or wedge) would make a very appropriate alternative garnish, especially if that's what you want. I'm going to try that myself next time.

      Now that rye seems to be making a bit of a comeback, you might try it sometime in your Manhattan instead of the more commonly used bourbon. It's more historically accurate, and (I think) a superior Manhattan base. Don't be surprised if you get blank stares from many bartenders, however. Many haven't the faintest idea what rye is. Canadian whiskys are often called ryes, though most do not contain nearly as much rye grain in the mash as USA standards require in a whiskey designated "rye", i.e., more than 50%, But they also make a nice Manhattan, and aren't so baffling to younger bartenders -- most bars have a bottle of Crown Royal, VO, or Canadian Club.

      As for the stirring vs. shaking question, my rule of thumb as a former pro was to shake just about everything that was going to get strained into a cocktail glass, unless the customer specified "stirred". I make a point of stirring, not shaking, drinks with bitters, which turn cloudy when shaken, or with carbonated ingredients like sparking wine, which lose their bubbles. Many drinks with egg white are supposed to be shaken to generate the foam that is half the point of the egg white being in there, like the Ramos Gin Fizz. I think shaking does a better job of adding some necessary dilution and making the drink as cold as possible.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        An orange garnish is one of my favorites for many drinks. I favor an orange twist (peel only) in an amer (formerly Picon) cocktail, and it's nice in a Manhattan, too. A slice or wedge of orange is ideal in a Cynar & soda and in a glass of Lillet.

        When it's sour cherry season -- a very brief window here in NYC -- it's easy & tasty to jar some of the cherries with various liquors. Brandy is good but I think I like Amaretto best. Don't forget to warn the guests that there is a pit in the cherry!

        Absoltuely agreed with MC Slim JB about rye. Since most bars don't have it I usually go with Seagram's 7.

      2. I hope you have tried a perfect Manhattan, the vermouth component being 1/2 red and 1/2 dry vermouth. Best garnished with a lemon twist.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kenito799

          Oh yeah, Perfect manhattan's are awesome. It took me a a little while to clearly tell the difference between manhattan's flavored with different vermouths, but now I really enjoy Perfect manhattan's and even a manhattan made with all dry vermouth. And yes, the maraschino cherries are disgusting, as soon as I can find some fresh cherries I will try soaking my own. And I will definitely try the dried cherry idea. Thanks!

        2. I use jarred Italian amarena cherries, which are deep purple in color, tangy, and much more flavorful than maraschino cherries. I also mix about a half-teaspoon of the cherry syrup into the drink.

          1. I've also recently become a Manhattan lover, and I enjoy both the cherry AND orange twist (together). If you like the orange slice, by all means, use the orange slice!

            I've only used sweet vermouth so far, but I'll try a mix of sweet & dry.