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Tag Archives: perfect manhattan

Milwaukee, WI – March 7, 2012

So I’m sitting at the bar and I hear, in this low, almost whispering voice, “Nice pants.”  I look around and there’s no one within ear shot, so I shrug it off and take another sip of my drink.  But then I hear the voice again, “Great looking haircut.”  Again, I look around and nothing.  I try to shrug it off, but when a few minutes later the voice asks “Have you lost weight?” I call the bartender over.

“Brett, I keep hearing this voice saying things like “nice pants” and “great haircut”.  What gives, are you screwing with me?”

Brett looks me right in the eye and tells me, “It’s the peanuts, they’re complimentary.”

One of the nice things about Bryant’s (South 9th and Lapham, Milwaukee) is that you don’t have to worry about either random hours or complimentary nuts distracting your taste buds from the cocktails.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had occasion to stop by and enjoy these two outstanding creations by Emily.

First is the Glamour Shot, pictured above.  When Emily asked what I was in the mood for I quickly answered gin, but that I didn’t want something run of the mill or a classic.  So, out came the Plymouth gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, Cynar liqueur, bar syrup and lemon juice.  An interesting combination I thought, between the ginger Canton and the bitter Cynar, with is derived from, among other things, artichoke.  The result was a terrific cocktail that leads with the ginger of the Canton then quickly follows with a slightly bitter bite.  The bar syrup and lemon juice round out the drink and give it balance so that it’s boozy, but in a mellow way.  An excellent offering from Emily.

The second drink is her Milwaukee Manhattan.  This drink was designed for a contest that Emily had entered (and, incidently, won) for the best variation on the classic Manhattan.  Featuring Bulliet rye whiskey with the usual sweet and dry vermouths (making this on perfect) and both Agnostura and Peychauds bitters, the twist is the addition of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (which I love!).  Again, a very well constructed cocktail that tasted incredible.  The cherry from the Luxardo was out in front on this one, with the sweet vermouth, bitters and rye filling in behind it.  This is a complex cocktail, with layers of flavors to be discovered.  Again, kudos to Emily for a job well done.


Day 227, Cocktail 225

Wednesday night found me at Buca di Beppo for dinner with a few of the guys I work with.  I have to tell you that I was extremely disappointed to learn that the place is part of a chain.  I’d thought it was a charming, local Italian place.  Knowing that it’s not local takes away from the charm in a big way for me.  *Sigh*

Fortunately, the cocktails were still good.  I hadn’t had a Manhattan in a while and then realized that I have yet to post a Perfect Manhattan here.  Viola, my choice was made.

  Perfect Manhattan

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

This and the straight manhattan have been favorites of mine for years.  The Perfect Manhattan is not quite as sweet since dry vermouth is substituted for 1/2 of the sweet vermouth.  The dry vermouth adds another very subtle flavor dimension and actually helps showcase the bourbon.  Do you have your own variation of a Manhattan?  If so, let me know so I can try it out!