Learn How To Make The Perfect Old-Fashioned Cocktail in Less Than 3 Minutes
The old-fashioned is one of the oldest mixed drinks in the cocktail canon. (Original name: whiskey cocktail, which became old-fashioned whiskey cocktail, and then just old-fashioned.) It is a stirred drink, usually built in the glass in which it is served. Both rye and bourbon are suitable base spirits. For the sweetener, purists muddle up a sugar cube with water and a couple dashes of bitters, but simple syrup works as well. Twists can be orange, lemon or both (known as “rabbit ears”).
A fruited version of the drink came into vogue after Prohibition and involves the muddling of a cherry and orange slice along with the sugar. That version remains widespread, but we advocate the more elemental rendition that took hold in the late 1800s, one that allows the flavors of the whiskey to shine.
The Manhattan was the most famous cocktail in the world shortly after it was invented in New York City’s Manhattan Club, some time around 1880 (as the story goes). Over the years, the whiskey classic has dipped in and out of fashion before finding its footing as one of the cornerstones of the craft cocktail renaissance.
Amazingly, the drink that socialites tipped to their lips in the 19th century looks and tastes pretty much the same as the one served today at any decent cocktail bar. The Manhattan’s mix of American whiskey and Italian vermouth, perked up with a few dashes of aromatic bitters, is timeless and tasty—the very definition of what a cocktail should be.
Early versions call for rye, with its spicier, edgier profile. Purists claim that it’s not a Manhattan without it, but who has ever had fun drinking with a purist? We find that bourbon creates a beautiful, if mellower, drink. And while Angostura bitters are a must in any variation, a single dash of orange bitters helps brighten the cocktail’s edges, bringing the whiskey and vermouth together seamlessly.
• 2 oz Bourbon or Rye (try it with Bulleit Bourbon)
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
• 1 dash Orange bitters
• Garnish: Brandied cherries
• Glass: Coupe
How To Make the Perfect Classic Manhattan Cocktail