The Manhattan Project

New Amsterdam

2 oz Bourbon <Woodford Reserve>
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cointreau
Few dashes orange bitters <Fee Brothers>

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry*

When I thought about how to start this whole blog thing off, there was only one drink to write about…the Manhattan.  You could call it my gateway cocktail.  The first proper drink I started making for myself at home.  It is my go to at bars when I’m overwhelmed by options or there are practically none to be seen.  Besides its subtle classiness and undeniable deliciousness, what I love about it most is its versatility.  And I don’t mean the fact that you could get it with bourbon, rye, or make it perfect. These days I look at the classic Manhattan recipe of 2 oz whiskey, 1 oz vermouth as an easy template for coming up with my own variations.  The simplest thing to do is drop the vermouth down to 1/2 oz, and then throw in a 1/2 oz of whatever bottle catches your fancy. This is nothing groundbreaking, as the sultry Red Hook has been around for a while (and is amazing), along with many others. But I’ve found it a fantastic jumping off point to get creative with one of my favorite drinks.

Above is the New Amsterdam, which brings orange into the mix with some Cointreau and orange bitters.  The name is a reference to the strong dutch influence in New York  orange is their national color, after all).  It’s a touch sweeter than a normal Manhattan, but the citrus notes balance things out well.



2 oz white whiskey <Bully Boy>
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz St. Germain
Few dashes of Angostura bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry or two.

For the Canarsie I decided to switch up the base with a white whiskey.  It lends a malty dryness to the drink which was interesting.  The Punt e Mes adds some bite and is a little nod to the red hook, while the St. Germain gives everything a velvety smoothness.  I decided to name it after where my parents grew up in Brooklyn, cuz the outer boroughs need more love in the cocktail world.

* Pro tip: if you have a special someone in your life who you are sharing drinks with, throw in an extra cherry for them to earn some brownie points

12 thoughts on “The Manhattan Project

  1. Peggy December 4, 2015 / 12:39 am

    I’m not typically a spirits gal, though I am spirited, but I do love your blog! The fact that I’m also your mom helps!! Thanks for the shout-out to our roots in Brooklyn…I’ll have to try the “Canarsie” sometime!!


  2. JRC December 4, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    I love the name of your drink….interestingly, my parents grew up in Canarsie as well….maybe they know each other….keep drinking away so you have more cocktail knowledge to share with us. Thanks and cheers


  3. Daniel Sciabarrasi December 6, 2015 / 1:31 am

    Made a Manhattan tonight for 2 – used Angostura, Sweet and Dry Vermouth and Maker’s. Huge fan of Geoffrey Zakarian’s cocktails and got the recipe from his Sunday morning show, The Kitchen, on Food Network. He does a segment called “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere”. Abandoned the traditional Luxardo cherries that we have been using because we ran out and I can’t find them anywhere – have to buy them online at this point. Our local spots sell out of them quickly. Picked up some “Mess Hall Cocktail Co.” cherries from the West Elm market (random find in Brooklyn) and they are pretty good in this cocktail but a little more of a jelly donut flavor if that is possible to achieve – I’m not complaining. Next time I will try the Cointreau. Also, did you know that there is a Mr. Muddle cartoon character (Mr. Men Series, Roger Hargreaves – came up when my better half who loves cartoons did a google search of Mr. Muddle). Luckily you look nothing like him!!


    • Adam December 6, 2015 / 4:59 pm

      What you got there is a perfect Manhattan (linked in the post), which I am big fan of these days. And the Mr. Muddle connection is intentional, as it’s a subtle nod to how having children has given me the opportunity to improve my cocktail game, and how part of my target audience are new parents with newfound time on their hands.


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