The Manhattan is a traditional cocktail for a purpose — with its easy mixture of rye whiskey, candy vermouth and bitters, it’s a powerful and chic drink that’s excellent for just about any event. Whereas rye is the usual whiskey to make use of, there are fairly a number of imbibers preferring bourbon of their Manhattan. There’s definitely nothing improper with mixing bourbon into the traditional, although it would give the cocktail a contact of sweetness, whereas rye offers a wonderful savory contact. Both means, to be able to combine a well-balanced drink, you need to select the proper spirit for the job. So we chatted with 13 bartenders to get their picks for one of the best bourbon for a Manhattan. Take it from us — you possibly can’t go improper with one in every of these bottles the following time you fire up the traditional. (And when you’re at it, take a look at our record of one of the best bourbons for an Previous Customary, too.)
“If I’m choosing a bourbon to enter a Manhattan, I’m most likely going with 4 Roses Single Barrel,” says Invoice Whitlow, the proprietor of Wealthy’s Correct. “I like for the bottom spirit to shine by in a boozy cocktail like a Manhattan. Its mild spice and oak are nice notes, and the medium-rich physique holds up nicely as an inexpensive base.”
“After I use bourbon in a Manhattan, I want Angel’s Envy,” says Christine Wiseman, beverage director of Bar Lab hospitality. “It’s completed in Port casks, so it provides off some darkish fruits and a little bit of spice that you could be discover in a rye. I additionally like that it tastes a bit lighter, so it’s pleasing within the Bar Bedford foyer with the home windows and doorways open.”
“Michter’s Bourbon works very well in a Manhattan as a result of the wealthy, darkish cherry and sorghum notes distinction the herbaceous notes of candy vermouth,” says Randi Densford, the beverage director of Barn8 Farm Restaurant & Bourbon Bar. “I additionally assume it really works nicely due to its proof. This permits the vermouth to mix with the bourbon for an ideal cocktail.”
Sommelier and mixologist Mercedes Cowper of Spherical Robin Bar at Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. agrees. “The bourbon I’d recommend is Michter’s Bourbon due to its wintergreen chew (from the rye mash), mellow citrus and baking spice flavors like vanilla, toffee and toasted almonds — which maintain up its taste profile amid the candy vermouth and Angostura bitters of the cocktail,” she says.
“Whereas I discover myself consistently making an attempt new issues moderately than sticking to a specific favourite, Michter’s Bourbon has lengthy been a secure play for a bourbon Manhattan,” Albert’s Bar supervisor Rocco DiLillio consents. “It performs nicely with most vermouths and bitters whereas nonetheless sustaining a traditional bourbon profile.”
“Manhattans are such a flexible and traditional cocktail,” says James Henry, bartender at The Brown Resort. “In relation to selecting a bourbon-based Manhattan, I want a rye-based bourbon equivalent to Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond. It’s 100 proof, sturdy and easy — preferrred for a spirit-forward cocktail.”
“Point out a Manhattan in any bar, and the primary ingredient the bartender will attain for is rye whiskey,” says Maurice Taylor, bar supervisor on the Brenton Resort. “Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon goes simply as nicely. Full-bodied, wealthy in colour and easy, Elijah Craig offers a non-overly candy style that doesn’t masks the opposite elements.”
“Attaining the right steadiness in a Manhattan necessitates a profound comprehension of the elements concerned,” says Jason Asher, founding companion and VP of beverage for Barter & Shake Cocktail Leisure. “The vermouth’s fashion (and origin) performs an important position in figuring out the best base whiskey in your cocktail. These days, my go-to selection has been high-rye American Bourbon when crafting a Manhattan. Manufacturers like Basil Hayden Bourbon possess a high-rye mash invoice that gives a robustness wanted to enhance a beneficiant serving of candy vermouth. Choosing high-rye bourbons eliminates a few of the guesswork, as they contribute each fruity and spicy notes to the drink. This flexibility permits for a broader collection of vermouths to be included, making certain a harmonious and well-balanced last cocktail.”
“As a standard Manhattan is made with rye, I by no means like a bourbon various to stray too far into the corn mash invoice territory,” agrees Robert Struthers, beverage director at Gair. “An excessive amount of corn, and the drink finally ends up flabby and saccharine to my palate. To that finish, the go-to bourbon that we attain for at Gair for Manhattans is Basil Hayden. Kentucky likes to maintain its mash payments near the vest, however the palate of Basil has the distinct white pepper attribute of rye whereas nonetheless sustaining a high quality bourbon’s distinctive roundness and vanilla-oak traits.”
“My grandfather taught me easy methods to make a Manhattan with bourbon, and he favored Wild Turkey 101,” says Abigail Gullo, inventive director at Loa Bar within the Worldwide Home Resort. “I like Willett Pot Nonetheless Reserve bourbon for a similar purpose — at 94 proof, the spirit stands as much as the vermouth. Willett has stunning notes of creamy vanilla and brilliant spicy citrus that play so properly with the botanicals in a wealthy vermouth. And Willett has one of many coolest bottles on the shelf! Gramps would certainly approve.”
“I’m at all times going with Wild Turkey 101,” says Brenda Riepenhoff, head bartender of Thief LES. “The additional alcohol stage helps it to essentially keep its construction when utilized in a cocktail. I like when my bourbon brings me reminiscences of the farm I grew up on once I take a sniff and may odor the dusty corn and different grains. Wild Turkey brings that!”
“To enhance the cocktail created in and named after our nice metropolis, I want to achieve for an area whiskey,” says Jonathan Badaracco, basic supervisor of STATE Grill & Bar. “My bourbon of selection when making a Manhattan is Vivid Lights, Large Bourbon by Hudson Whiskey NY. Constituted of New York corn, it has a easy taste. Plus, utilizing New York whiskey actually makes any drink higher, for my part.”
“I like to make use of a barely higher-proof bourbon whiskey, 45% or extra with a high-rye content material within the mash invoice, equivalent to Woody Creek Bourbon from Colorado,” says Tony Abou-Ganim, creator of The Fashionable Mixologist: Modern Basic Cocktails. “For my Manhattan, I want a whiskey that stands as much as a giant vermouth, equivalent to Cinzano 1757. My Manhattan have to be nicely stirred, icy chilly and served straight up. The upper proof stands as much as the dilution, whereas the upper rye content material provides the spice and complexity to steadiness the vermouth and bitters.”
The Secret to Nice Cocktails? Discover Out in The Spill.