For far too long the Manhattan has been treated as a one-size fits all cocktail recipe. No matter what kind of whiskey you had lying around it would work fine, right? Just add some vermouth, a few dashes of bitters and a cherry garnish. Well…In fact, not all Manhattans are created equal and some whiskies certainly work better than others in the classic drink.
For one, you need a spirit that has enough character and potency, so that it doesn’t get obscured by the sweet vermouth and the bitters. Westland Distillery’s American Oak single malt from the Pacific Northwest is such a whiskey. At 92-proof and non-chill filtered, it won’t fall apart in the mixing glass when stirred with big ice cubes, while at the same time it’s not so strong that it needs to be tamed with excessive dilution.
The whiskey is made from five different types of barley and it’s aged in barrels made from new American oak, which gives it a real depth and complexity. As a result, the so-called Stateside Manhattan has an uncommon smoothness and notes of chocolate, cherries and coffee on the palate.
While most Manhattans are now usually made with bourbon or striaght rye, in the late 1800s, when the drink first came to prominence, no one is exactly sure what kind of whiskey was used. In fact, we know very little about the origins of the drink, including who invented it, where it was created or what were the original ratios.
What we do know is that American distillers back in the 19th century made single malt from malted barley like they did back in Scotland and Ireland. The spirit is a perfect fit for the drink, since it’s full of flavor and pairs beautifully with sweet vermouth and bitters.
So mix up a Stateside Manhattan tonight and taste the difference yourself.
- 2 oz Westland American Oak Single Malt
- 1 oz Sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Glass: Coupe
- Garnish: Maraschino cherry
- Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
- Stir and strain into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with a maraschino cherry.