by Jim Passantino October 13, 2021 3 min read
When a cocktail remains a classic for over 140 years, it must be something special. The Manhattan cocktail has withstood the test of time and then some. It gets its name from The Manhattan Club in the late 1800s.
It's popularity has come and gone, but it's now thriving in the classic cocktail renaissance. The Manhattan consists of 3 basic ingredients: Whiskey, Vermouth, and bitters. A smoked manhattan cocktail adds a flavor, aroma, and character which compliment this classic perfectly. To get this drink dialed in just right for you, you'll need to choose from variations of each ingredient.
First, choose the right whiskey.
Since this whiskey will be blended with other ingredients, don't go cracking open that bottle of Blanton's you've been saving for a special occasion. Drink that one neat with friends and family. For the Manhattan, we recommend using a bourbon or rye whiskey, but we favor the bourbon option. Most bottles in the $35 - $45 range will do fine. The Russell's Reserve 6 or 10yr Bourbon, Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Rieger's Whiskey any many rye whiskies or bourbons all make fine choices.
Now for the vermouth, which typically comes in either dry or sweet. We'll save the dry vermouth for a smoked martini some day, and use the sweet vermouth as part of this premium smoked Manhattan recipe. And pro tip, if you find yourself at the store looking through bottles of dry and red vermouth options, go red. Martini and Rossi red vermouth is a sweet vermouth practically made for Manhattans.
Bitters, bitters, bitters... Notice how this ingredient appears in almost every bourbon recipe? The floral and herbal flavor perfectly compliments the spice, oak, and earthy flavor of whiskey. One bottle of regular bitters and one with orange flavor will go a long way in your liquor cabinet. We'll use two to three dashes of either, or one of each if you have both, in this smoked Manhattan.
Ok, the next two steps are how you help make sure this classic lasts another 140 years. In addition to adding amazing flavor to the cocktail, these two ingredients make for a beautiful presentation.
The first extra we're going to add here are two cocktail cherries, preferably Luxardo Maraschino cherries. Not only do you get rich, dark, marinated cherries, but the syrup which comes with them when you spoon out the cherries adds another profile of sweetness when its stirred in the drink.
The second extra we're going to add is smoke. Whiskey and bourbon age in charred oak barrels. So, some smoke flavor is already seasoned in to each bottle. Adding smoke to the Manhattan drink is yet another flavor which was made for this concoction.
We use the Aged & Charred Smoke Lid to get just the right amount of smoke and flavor. Our cocktail smoker was design to get maximum smoke quickly and clean. It saves on wood chips and butane, and the handy lid smokes in the drink, not the room. Aged & Charred offers three wood chip bundles: Bold Four Pack (oak, hickory, mesquite, pecan), Fruit Four Pack (cherry, apple, pear, peach), and Variety Four Pack (oak, hickory, apple, cherry) . Experiment with different wood types to find just the right match for your favorite cocktail. For the Manhattan, we recommend cherry wood chips to compliment the red vermouth and cocktail cherry. Oak, pecan, and apple are all fine choices as well.
When you combine all ingredients and hand off this cocktail to your guest, or even better enjoy for yourself, you'll know just by the sight of the caramel colored drink, with marinated cherries at the bottom and smoke rolling off the top, it is going to be a drink to remember, and that is how a cocktail survives 140 years.
Combine all ingredients plus ice into a cocktail shaker and stir until chilled. Pour into coupe or whiskey glass. Add one pinch of wood chips to the Smoke Lid. Place Smoke Lid on top of glass and burn burn chips with the butane torch provided with Smoke Lid until smoke is visible in the glass. Serve with smoke rolling off the top.
Cheers. Saluti. Salud. Prost. Kanpai.
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