Happy New Year, friends.
Speaking of, this past New Year’s Eve we had the lowest of low-key parties in the history of my life…and it was awesome!
We invited a total of five friends over to the house and put down a variety of cocktails and champagnes of beer. Of cocktails consumed, the Amaretto sour was the clear winner as my wife cannot stop tossing ‘em back. I bought a bottle of Disarrono on a whim to bring to my parents on Christmas Eve and that was the beginning of her latest tryst. And who can blame her? They are seriously delicious.
Now, you would think that this installment of the Hump Day Happy Hour would be focused on that, the tastiest of all almond flavored liqueur sours, but NO, I tell you. No. Tonight we are going full classic. Tonight, ladies and germs, we are making Manhattans.
And here’s why. On this same New Year’s Eve, we ventured out into our quaint little town of Phoenixville and entered one of the many bars. This one is a bit on the fancy side and we were immediately thrown the stink-eye upon our arrival (likely because we were seven people walking into a bar that had one person currently in it and said stink-eye thrower likely wanted to go home).
A member of our band of interlopers promptly ordered a Manhattan. This Manhattan was made with Maker’s Mark and served in what appeared to be a double-shot glass. Upon finishing off the drink, I was told that it was the strongest drink he had ever had.
I felt like something was all together off here and it has stuck with me all week.
It finally dawned on me what was wrong, and it may come to shock to you, my loyal boozehounds. What was wrong is that in my 37 years I have never had a Manhattan.
And I can wait no longer…
with a maraschino cherry or orange peel.
Man. Is this thing good. Surprisingly not as strong as I thought it would be considering the fair amount of booze involved. I’ll tell you what, if you haven’t had one of these bad boys yet, I highly recommend you rectify that immediately.
Couple of quick notes here.
Some purists say you should strain any “spirit cocktails” (cocktails with no fruit juice) with a julep strainer. Hogwash. Strain the drink with whatever strainer you have as long as it keeps the ice in the mixing glass. I strained with a Hawthorne strainer and guess what…same drink.
As a rule of thumb (and a rule that I just learned), any drinks that contain only spirits should be stirred and not shaken. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty in another post, but you shake drinks with fruit juice, egg or cream in them. Also, there a bunch of techniques on how to stir a drink and I must admit this was my first real attempt and I pretty much botched it. You guys should check out this video on the proper technique for stirring a cocktail. Dude is legit.
So that’s about it. The Manhattan. Worth the wait, my friends. Well worth it.
Join us next week for a special guest post for our newest Cocktail Novice contributor, Jim Moore. My old man.
Until then keep knocking back the whiskey sours.