ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE MANHATTAN

ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE MANHATTAN Friday, February 01, 2013

To put in terms most Rumsfeldian: When it comes to classic cocktails, there are Known Unknowns.

Many claim to invent them, but few can prove it. So we get instead a ragtag grab bag of creation myths.

The same goes with the authorship of the Manhattan. Nobody knows who dreamt it up.

As for the Known Knowns, that’s easy: A Manhattan is, simply, whiskey, bitters and vermouth, served up with a cherry on top, or rather, plunged to the the bottom of your glass.

But not ours. Nope. Ours is ours, meaning that we can claim to have invented its assemblage—and it’s a potent assemblage, to say the least.

We start, not with bourbon, but with rye: 100-proof Rittenhouse Rye, to be precise.

Then we skip the vermouth (which generally never clocks in with more than a proof of 30) and mix it with the impressive 80-proof, cognac-like Bénédictine liqueur, distilled from the essences of nearly 30 super-secret roots and herbs.

And lastly, we splash in a dash or two Bitterman’s Burlesque Bitters, before sinking into it that aforementioned cherry, in the case an Amarena.

So try, but be careful. It’s a strong tester of mettles, and two of these will put the wind in your three-sheet sails.