The Whiskey Wench Manhattan
Believe it or not, I really don’t drink that often. I would say I have maybe three beers a week, then a whiskey or two on the weekends (damn, I didn’t mean this to sound like a confession). There have been times when I wanted a good cocktail but could never find anything that satisfied me. I’ve tried all the normal bar fare – standard martinis, margaritas, screwdrivers, rum and coke (damn, did I say that?) and all the other miscellaneous low-shelf stuff you get at a bar with some 20-something as a bartender — but never found anything that was balanced to where I could enjoy the flavor of the spirit that’s in the drink. So for years, I stuck to neat whiskey, beer, and wine. Not that it’s a bad thing.

The Whiskey Wench (Cindy) and I ride the Harley down to St. Augustine every year, to spend a few days and celebrate New Year’s Eve. A few years ago we were walking about town and found ourselves at a trendy, kind of uppity martini bar overlooking the bay. You normally wouldn’t find me in a place like this, but New Year’s Eve is the exception. We met some locals and ended up having a great time. While we were getting to know one another, I tried a few of the basic martinis they had to offer and was less than impressed, until one of our new-found friends ordered a Manhattan Martini. She complained about it being very strong and tasting too much like whiskey. I immediately perked up (kind of like Scooby Doo does when food is mentioned) and thought I might have found the end of the rainbow. I politely asked if I could try it, and she obliged. I knew I had found “my drink” and ordered one immediately. It’s a perfect blend of sweet and spiciness that doesn’t lose the whiskey flavor. The one I had at the bar was good, but I knew it could be better.
We had a great time in St. Augustine as always( if you ever go make sure to visit the San Sebastian Winery). I couldn’t wait to get home and start working in the lab to create the perfect Manhattan. The Whiskey Wench and I eventually came up with a basic recipe, and I started enjoying what would become “my drink.” I was pleased with what we had concocted, but the Whiskey Wench continued to refine the recipe, and she has mastered the perfect cocktail for the whiskey lover (in my opinion). I will offer this to you only if you give credit to the Wench when someone asks you where you got the recipe………

The Whiskey Wench Manhattan
3 oz of Good Rye whiskey (Rittenhouse is good for mixing or Russell’s reserve) **
1.5 oz of Sweet Vermouth
¼ to ½ teaspoon Sugar or Splenda
8 drops of Angostura Bitters
Stirred (not shaken)
Serve on the rocks with 2 cherries


** We have tried Bourbon and while it’s ok, Rye makes a much better cocktail. It’s a must that you use GOOD rye whiskey. I have used Jim Beam Rye (which is inexpensive and for a reason), and needless to say, I still have the bottle on my shelf.


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