There are few things I find more satisfying during these cold months than sipping a Manhattan. It's my go-to winter drink, which means we always have a bottle of Blanton's and sweet vermouth on hand. Traditionally, rye whiskey is used, but I prefer the sweetness of bourbon over the spicy notes in rye (with that said, I was recently introduced to Basil Hayden's Dark Rye, which is blended with port, and I've become a big fan). If you've never made a Manhattan before, it's a good drink to learn (and it's easy to remember): 2 parts whiskey to 1 part sweet vermouth (often this is 2 oz and 1 oz, but if you're having a rough day, a larger pour may be necessary), a few dashes of Angostura bitters, all of which is stirred in a glass with ice and strained into a coupe. While the spirits are the most important ingredients here, we can't forget about the garnish. Now, it may be easier and cheaper to get your hands on some of those bright red maraschino cherries you used to have in your Shirley Temples when you were a kid, but please... please... invest in the good stuff (Luxardo are available at most liquor stores or online). Yes, it's $20 for a container, but when you're only having one per drink, a jar goes a long way. Believe me, it's worth the extra money.
Yield: 1 drink
Tools: Mixing glass, cocktail strainer
Glassware: 3.5 oz coupe
2 oz Rye whiskey or Bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry, garnish (Luxardo is recommended)
Add 3-4 ice cubes to mixing glass. Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with cherry.