Currently there are several bottled manhattans available on the market; High West has really put this one together well. All the right flavor components are there, and are well balanced. In the past when sampling bottled manhattans something was always off or missing for me, they just felt lacking. This was not the case with this offering from High West. If you are not able to make a manhattan at home, or are going to a gathering and don’t want to spend time mixing drinks, this is a great alternative.
Ask 20 different people to make you an Old Fashioned and you’ll likely get 20 different variations of this classic cocktail. While it has very few ingredients, the options within those basic ingredients can vary widely. Rye whiskey or bourbon? High proof or low? 1 oz or 2? Orange or cherries? Maybe you like both – or maybe neither. Then there’s the bitters… 1 dash or 5? Agnostura bitters? Orange bitters? Chocolate bitters? Even the sugar used will affect the taste. Raw sugar, refined sugar, simple syrup, agave syrup, artificial sugars… and so on.
I am always wary of any brands that market themselves as being best as a shot (aka: reducing the time you have to actually taste it). Liquors that are designed to have as little booze flavor as possible to minimize the displeasure of delivering alcohol quickly to the blood stream are all the same. After all, Drinking Curious is also Drinking Responsibly. Whether it’s honey, cinnamon, or old-fashioned-inspired “whiskey-based” spirits, they are all meant to be tossed in the freezer, peddled by scantily clad promo models, and not worthy of a spot in any decent liquor cabinet.
When I’m in the mood for a bourbon cocktail a Manhattan is always my first choice. A classic drink with only four ingredients, it’s easily customized to fit your mood. Want something extra spicy? Swap out bourbon with rye whiskey. Have a sweet tooth? Put some extra sweet vermouth in with extra Luxardo cherries. As such my home bar is always stocked with a Manhattan’s signature ingredients. But sometimes I find myself wanting to enjoy a Manhattan at a friend’s house with no ingredients in sight. It’s time like those that a ready-to-drink cocktail would be perfect. With that in mind I …
Typically speaking, I prefer my bourbon neat. No ice, no additional water and certainly no mixers that would mask the flavors of my beloved whiskey. However, in the last decade, classic cocktails have been making a comeback. If you’re a regular of Bourbon & Banter, you’re already well aware of this, as we’ve featured quite a few cocktail recipes. When made properly, a classic cocktail doesn’t mask the flavor of the whiskey, rather, the other ingredients mingle with the whiskey, allowing the mixologist to build an experience that is to be savored, just as a highly trained chef would do with a meal.