Manhattans in the UK
The Manhattan is my latest obsession and as much of a fan of Bourbon as I am, it only really works for me with Rye - I guess as it should be drunk.
The problem is that I'm in the UK and the choice is poor. So far I have really enjoyed it with Templeton (picked up from SF), probably one of my favourite American Whiskies. More recently I have used High West Double and been more than happy. Now I am looking at the other options easily available to me:
Redemption (incl High)
Smooth Ambler 7 year
Any of these worth trying, or to be avoided, in a Manhattan?
On vermouth, I really like Cocchi di Torino but also saw that I can get VYA Sweet vermouth. Is this considered a good one in the US for a Manhattan?
Haven't tried Vya Sweet, but I've heard good things about it (had a bottle of their Dry that I used in Martinis--quite good). My go-to sweet vermouth (for Manhattans & Negronis) is Punt e Mes--not sure how available that is where you are.
What about the third essential ingredient: the bittters? Can you find Angostura easily?
Thanks for that. Should have mentioned that I have an unopened bottle of Punt e Mes which I shall be trying after the Cocchi has finished! It's readily available and even cheaper than the Cocchi
Bitters I'm good with. Always have a bottle of Angostura but have experimented with others. Recently bought The Bitter Truth travellers set with 5 sample bottles form their range. My fave, more than Angostura, is Creole bitters. Also use their Aromatic and Jerry Thomas own Decanter bitters for a change
I personally think one of the best Manhattans is:
2 oz. Rittenhouse rye
.75 oz. Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Stirred on ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass with either a lemon or orange peel oil expressed onto the cocktail and dropped in as garnish.
I also like Redemption, but sometimes go with a less bold sweet vermouth like Dolin Rouge.
I don't care too much for Vya, but haven't had it in a few years and its a product that did change over the first few years on the market.
We only have 100 proof Rittenhouse here.
I keep all my vermouth in a small, very cold fridge and break it down into small, full bottles and it stays good for many months.
That ratio is one that works very well for me in Manhattans and martinis, as well as a starting point for many of my cocktail recipes.
Personally I am a fan of Vya. It has a warm spice note (cinnamon, maybe clove) that I really find appealing in a Manhattan, as opposed to the vanilla flavor found in the Carpano Antica.
I'm also generally a Punt e Mes fan, but not in a Manhattan. The sharp bitterness ruins the drink for me.
I only use the Carpano with Rittenhouse. That works for me. But I don't use the Carpano very much in other cocktails because of the vanilla note which can get overwhelming.
I'll have to try the Vya again and see how it has progressed over the years. I think I last tried it in 2006/7 and didn't think much of it.