I'll Take another Manhattan

Manhattans were a drink of the day last week. I've drunk Manhattans from time to time, mainly those made by a certified mixologist when I've gone out to eat somewhere "fancy," which in my parlance is somewhere more sophisticated than a diner or Applebees. I can probably count on my nose the times I've mixed one up at home.

Manhattans are easy: bourbon or other whiskey, vermouth (usually sweet), and bitters. I was temporarily out of bitters (for the last year or two), but they were easy enough to find.

For my first attempt I used Maker's Mark, sweet vermouth, and bitters, about 3/4 of an ounce of the vermouth to 3 ounces or so of bourbon. No cherry. I'm not a maraschino cherry fan. Steak 'n Shake has thrown out (I hope) many a cherry left behind from my milk shakes. My oldest nephew loves them; grandma gave him a big jar of them for his birthday a couple years ago.

My first stab at making a Manhattan tasted more like Maker's Mark straight up than a cocktail. I don't know if I needed more vermouth or if MM is just too strong for a good Manhattan. For my second try I dusted off my almost empty bottle of Jim Beam and used equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, a "perfect Manhattan."

This one started out smooth, but got bitter tasting as I went along. Maybe I should have ditched the bitters, since I was using some dry vermouth, which toned down the sweetness of the drink. I think I wasted some perfectly good booze and poured out the last ounce or two.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my adventures ordering Manhattans from the professional mixologists. Holiday Inn bartenders are pros, no?