Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year and Cheers – I’ll Take Manhattan!

My friend “Lee Sloan” is a Grand Dame of food and wine. She recently shared this story of a conversation in a fashionable New York City restaurant:

“I asked a waiter at A Voce the other night if the restaurant was experiencing a downturn in customers as a result of the downturn in the economy. He said the customers were still coming but they were eating less and drinking more. God Bless America!”

With that thought in mind, it’s time to raise a toast to all the potential on tap for 2009. Today’s celebratory drink is “The Manhattan” my father’s cocktail of choice. Perhaps it’s hereditary, because Nana, too, was a Manhattan aficionado.

After decades of watching the senior members of the Barritt family (and a few of my brothers) enjoys the classic Manhattan Cocktail, I decide to try it myself, but of course, I’ve got to get the back story, as well. Who knew the Manhattan had such a celebrated history? First thought to have been concocted in the 1870s at the famous Manhattan Club in New York’s Theater District, this smooth and seductive blend of rye whiskey and vermouth was said to be a favorite of power broker J.P. Morgan.

Well, times are tough and we can’t all be captains of industry, but we can certainly welcome 2009 like a tycoon. There are numerous variations on the Manhattan and in recent years, my Dad has experimented with Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which results in a slightly sweeter cocktail. Here’s his formula. After all the precise baking measurements of the past month, the relative ease assembly something to be appreciated:

The Manhattan Cocktail

2 ounces Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey
1 ounce French Sweet Vermouth

Pour whiskey and vermouth over ice in a glass and stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

All serious students of the Manhattan believe the maraschino cherry is a key ingredient. Let’s hope 2009 is topped with a maraschino cherry, too!

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photo, TW. And even though I can't indulge in a Manhattan with you, I must say it seems like a perfect way to see in the new year.

Cakespy said...

I never tried a Manhattan til I moved away from Manhattan--seeing it on a menu, it made me wistful so I decided to try it. It was the beginning of a love affair--as much as I love sweets, I like a stiff and slightly bitter drink, and the Manhattan is perfect on both counts!

Anonymous said...

I've never had a manhattan! Happy New Year, TW!

Anonymous said...

Got to have the cherry!! :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Lydia - the key is to take the photo first!

Cakespy - I love this story! "Lovelorn New Yorker finds happiness in Seattle cocktail lounge." Talk about happy endings!

Veron - give it a try, and as Maryann advises, make sure you have the cherry!