Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: the Manhattan

Manhattan-2

To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring a different cocktail from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

As previously stated, I’m a bit of a Mad Men fanatic. The characters and their struggles have gripped my soul. The fashion is so on point. The cocktails are so classic and powerful.

Yes, powerful. This week for S7E9, I’ll be drinking perhaps the most “powerful” cocktail of all time, The Manhattan. There is literally nothing more powerful than ordering what Gary Regan once called, “The King of Cocktails.” Manhattans make you feel like a supreme being, a conqueror of worlds, a leader of vast armies.

Tradition has it that the Manhattan was originally made with American Whiskey, which in the 1860s meant Rye. Some recipes call for Canadian Whiskey, Bourbon, or even Brandy (I’m looking at you Wisconsin) but they always call for Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters.

Peggy Drinks a Manhattan

In S4E7 “The Suitcase”, Peggy and her boyfriend Mark break up after Don forces her to work late into the night on her birthday. She vents her frustration to Don and tells him that she and Mark have split. Don and Peggy leave the office, go to a shitty diner and then end up at a bar. Don, always Old Fashioned in hand, chats with Peggy about how attractive Peggy is and cheers her up about her chances with men. Peggy slowly sips her Manhattan, savoring every moment.

Manhattan-3

Manhattans are usually made in a 2:1 ratio of Whiskey to Sweet Vermouth with a couple of dashes of Bitters thrown in and a Maraschino Cherry as garnish. Here in New York City 2015, the recipe is frequently made as follows:

Manhattan

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse is the fave)
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica Vermouth or Cocchi Vermouth di Tornio are the faves)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Maraschino Cherry

Combine Ingredients over ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe and garnish with Maraschino Cherry.

Perfect-Manhattan-2

An excellent Manhattan Variation is made by using equal parts Sweet Vermouth and Dry Vermouth with a couple of dashes of bitters. This is called a Perfect Manhattan. In my opinion, this tends to work better if you use Vermouths of the same house. i.e. Dolin Rouge & Dolin Dry, Noilly Prat Rouge & Noilly Prat Dry, Carpano Antica & Carpano Dry.

Perfect Manhattan

  • 2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Carpano Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Maraschino Cherry

Combine Ingredients over ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe and garnish with Maraschino Cherry.

Fourth-Regiment-2

In what is perhaps my favourite Manhattan Variation, add Celery Bitters into the mix. The Fourth Regiment recipe was first published in The Hotel Monthly by Jacques Straub in 1914. I had one for the first time a few years ago at Dutch Kills in Long Island City and never looked back! The original recipe calls for the drink to be shaken, equal parts Rye & Sweet Vermouth and one dash each of the bitters. There is no garnish specification but I love to use an Orange peel.

Fourth Regiment

  • 1 1/2 oz Rye (Rittenhouse or bust!)
  • 1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica!)
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 1 dash Scrappy’s Celery Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Combine Ingredients over ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into coupe, express Orange peel and garnish.

Manhattan-Ingredients

Now when it comes to making your own Manhattan, use whichever Bitters, Vermouths, garnishes and Whiskey you have on hand. Feel free to experiment and combine different ingredients together. If you have Maraschino Liqueur, an Amaro or Absinthe on hand, add a dash or two of that! Always keep in mind to start in small amounts and measure everything!

I’ll be doing this series until the end of Mad Men, so see you next week!

Thanks again to The Baddish Group for the fantastic bottles of Carpano Antica & Carpano Dry.

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