Monday, September 30, 2013

A Tale of Four Manhattans: A Manhattan Cocktail Taste Test

with Templeton Rye and Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon as the
main spirits
and Carpano Antica Formula and Punt e Mes as the
sweet vermouths

The Manhattan Cocktail in all its glory. To achieve perfection, read on.

The lovely Laura Baddish, from the Baddish Group PR firm, sent us a most tantalizing package of spirits that contained the makings of four different Manhattans. Among the tightly rumpled packing paper and swaddling bubble wrap lay two American whiskeys: Templeton Rye, Four Roses Single Batch Bourbon; and 2 sweet vermouths, Carpano Antica Formula and Punt e Mes. We have always been a fan of all four of these beguiling bottles of booze, but actually taking the time to make four different Manhattans with them and compare notes is something you have to set out to do before the first sips cloud your mental faculties.

We are happy to report that all four versions of the Manhattans we made left us breathless with delight. The luscious bittersweetness of the Carpano Antica Formula made for some damn smooth cocktails, while the zestier Punt e Mes brought out the oaky–spiciness of each of the whiskeys. Adjusting the ratio of whiskey to vermouth was the only detail we had to consider before we started to stir. The Templeton is 80 proof while the Four Roses Single Barrel is a whopping 100 proof. Just remember this: The higher the whiskey’s proof, the more vermouth and stirring you’ll want to apply to your cocktail crafting, in order to tame the bite. For us, we use a 2:1 ratio of whiskey to vermouth, with a dash of Angostura bitters; for the lower-proof whiskeys, such as Templeton rye, we will mix only 3/4 ounce of the vermouth to 2 ounces of whiskey (you dont want to overwhelm the whiskey with the sweetness of the vermouth, unless of course you desire a Sweet Manhattan. Then by all means add more vermouth. 

All in all, depending on your mood and what flavors you want to draw out from the apps you pair with them, you’re going to end up with one swell drink. Try each with your favorite brand of spicy potato chips, or some similar snack, and you’ll taste the difference. For example, you will taste more of the spice from Utz Maui Chips if using Punt e Mes, and more of the sweetness if using Carpano Antica Formula vermouth. They’re both worth it. Try one tonight, and another tomorrow night.

Well, we’ve already made our Manhattans. So, we raise a toast to you for your discernment, and of course to Ms. Baddish, for the hooch, and the idea for this Manhattan Project.

Bottoms up!

This Single Barrel bourbon is simply aces. That first whiff when you open the bottle beckons you like a siren. Do you resist the call, or take the plunge? We thought so. Here’s the recipe.

Whether you choose Templeton rye or Four Roses Single Barrel is up to how inebriated you want to get. Choose wisely, and you will be rewarded richly.

Four Roses Single Barrel Manhattan
(suggested by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon
1 ounce Carpano Antica (smooth) or Punt e Mes (spicy) vermouth
1–2 dashes Angostura bitters
brandied or maraschino cherry, as garnish

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Do not rush this process. You want a decent amount of dilution. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, or coupe. Add cherry.

❤ ❤ ❤

We’ve sung Templeton Rye’s praises before, and we continue to do so today. Smooth, yet utterly distinct, it is in a class by itself. A must.

Templeton Rye Manhattan
(suggested by Cocktail Buzz)

Ingredients
2 ounces Templeton rye
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica (smooth) or Punt e Mes (spicy) vermouth
1–2 dashes Angostura bitters
brandied or maraschino cherry, as garnish

Method
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, or coupe. Add cherry.

photos © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz


1 comment:

  1. We've often taste tested liquors for a side-by-side comparison, but rarely as a drink-to-drink comparison. This is great.

    ReplyDelete