Can bourbon be used in Manhattan?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Bourbon can absolutely be used in a Manhattan cocktail. In fact, bourbon is one of the most popular choices for this classic drink. While traditionally made with rye whiskey, using bourbon adds a rich and slightly sweeter flavor profile to the cocktail.

When it comes to making a bourbon Manhattan, the key is to use quality ingredients and find the perfect balance of flavors. The three main components of a Manhattan are bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

First, let’s talk about bourbon. Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that is made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. It has a slightly sweet and smooth taste with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. The choice of bourbon can greatly impact the overall flavor of your Manhattan, so it’s worth exploring different brands and styles to find your favorite.

Next, sweet vermouth is an essential ingredient in a Manhattan. It is a fortified wine that adds sweetness, depth, and herbal flavors to the cocktail. The vermouth helps to balance the strong flavors of the bourbon and adds complexity to the drink.

Angostura bitters are used to add a hint of bitterness and aroma to the Manhattan. Just a few dashes of bitters can elevate the flavors and bring everything together.

To make a bourbon Manhattan, start by chilling your glassware. Fill a mixing glass or shaker with ice and add 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of angostura bitters. Stir the mixture gently for about 30 seconds to properly mix and chill the ingredients.

Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe or martini glass. If desired, you can express the oils from a piece of orange peel over the drink to release its citrusy aroma, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The result is a smooth and flavorful cocktail with the perfect balance of sweetness, bitterness, and complexity. It’s a timeless classic that can be enjoyed on its own or as a pre-dinner aperitif.

Now, let me share a personal experience I had with a bourbon Manhattan. I once attended a whiskey tasting event where they offered a variety of different bourbons. After trying a few samples, I decided to use one of the bourbons I had tasted to make a Manhattan. The result was absolutely fantastic! The bourbon added a unique character to the cocktail, with its distinct flavors shining through. It was smooth, slightly sweet, and incredibly enjoyable.

Bourbon can definitely be used in a Manhattan cocktail. It brings its own unique flavors to the drink and creates a delicious twist on the classic recipe. Whether you’re a bourbon enthusiast or simply looking to try something new, a bourbon Manhattan is definitely worth a try. Cheers!