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Jan 21, 2009 08:24 AM

best rye for manhattan

any ideas

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  1. It depends on how you want your Manhattan to taste. I actually prefer a Bourbon (or Tennessee Whiskey) Manhattan. If you want to try a more traditional, rye Manhattan, though, here are a few that should do well for a traditional, spicy rye taste:

    Rittenhouse 100
    Wild Turkey 101 Rye
    Sazerac Rye

    If you like something sweeter, you may want to try Old Overholt; for something a bit lighter, but still a traditional rye flavor, Wild Turkey's Russel Reserve

    8 Replies
    1. re: sku

      Old Overholt or Sazerac are my favorite everyday ryes for Manhattans. In a restaurant/bar with no rye (typical) I'll always then call for Seagrams 7, a Canadian blended whiskey with a good portion of rye in it.

      1. re: Up With Olives

        FYI, Seagram's 7 is an American blended whiskey. (Seagram's was a Canadian company, which often causes this confusion).

      2. re: sku

        +1 on the Wild Turkey 101. It's a great rye at a great price, and the higher proof means that it will stand up to a bit more vermouth in the drink (I personally like a 3:1 rye:vermouth ratio).

        By the way, sku, nice blog! I just read through all of your Whiskey Wednesday posts and found them quite enjoyable.

        1. re: sku

          the bonded Rittenhouse, hands down.

          1. re: ted

            I agree with you. While I'll take any rye for my Manhattan, I like Rittenhouse bonded 100 proof. I think it has the most rye character, with more balance than some of the heavy rye super expensive ones. I like to use Antico formula vermouth which in itself can be overpowering, but put it to the Rittenhouse bonded and a miracle occurs, add a few drops of bitters, and nirvana.

            1. re: JMF

              I've been working my way through a bottle of the Russell's Reserve Rye. I like it, but it's hard to justify spending $35 for that over the Rittenhouse, when it's under $20. Fortunately, at least one of my local liquor stores has gotten more in stock after being out for several months.

          2. re: sku

            I like Old Overholt, too. I also like Jim Beam yellow label 100% rye. Both are affordable and make great Manhattan's.

            Don't forget to pay attention to your vermouth, too. I don't use the really cheap stuff, as I feel it affects the flavor as much as a cheap whisky would. I also mix sweet and dry vermouth, since I feel the sweet one is usually TOO sweet by itself.

            My Manhattan recipe is as follows:

            2 parts rye
            1/2 part sweet vermouth
            1/2 part dry vermouth
            3 dashes Angostura bitters
            1 maraschino cherry with a spoonful of juice

            Stir over ice in a rocks glass.

            1. re: ed1066

              dry and sweet vermouth in equal parts is a.....Perfect Manhattan with Rye or a Perfect Rob Roy with Scotch.

          3. I always reach for either Rittenhouse 100 or Van Winkle Family Reserve. Both add the characteristic rye spiciness that I like. I think the Van Winkle is a touch more refined, but that's not always what you're looking for so I have both.

            1. New favorite.

              R(i) 1. That isn't a typo. It is a modern package and typeface that is intended, I think, to look like a phonetic spelling of "rye." And then the "one" is actually on the label as an "exponent."...but that exceeds the capabilities of either (both?) Chowhound boards and I so I just did it with a regular one.

              Anyway, I use Carpano Antico vermouth which eliminates the need for bitters as it is already rather aromatic. This is the most leathal (in a good way) Manhattan I have ever had. You'd never guess it is 92 proof!

              7 Replies
              1. re: ellaystingray

                I've been assuming that this is basically the "Grey Goose" of Rye. What I mean is that someone realized that if they made a catchy label and jacked up the price, people would assume that it was good.

                1. re: jgg13

                  Here here. I took one look at that stuff and the store and thought "great, now they're trying to market rye to tools."

                  1. re: craigasaurus

                    Hey, it may be wonderful. And if it means that more bars will actually carry a rye whisky then I guess that's good. But I couldn't walk up to the register holding that bottle.

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      Just to be clear, I wasn't saying that it was a ripoff/etc - I really don't know. That was just my initial impression when I first read about it, and until I find out that this is demonstrably untrue I'm going to stick to non-flashy rye.

                      1. re: Frommtron

                        (rī)¹ is mediocre and way overpriced. It's very light, like a rye for someone who doesn't really like rye. Given the amount of great ryes out there at reasonable prices, there's no reason to spend for this stuff.


                        1. re: sku

                          The words 'light' and 'rye' shouldn't really go together. Thanks for the report. You're doing God's work, sir.

                  1. I like Michter's Rye for a Manhattan. I'll also use Sazerac to save some money. Wild Turkey 101 is my go to when in a bar that has a poor or non-existent rye selection.