How to mix an exquisitely flavored Manhattan cocktail with just two ingredients.
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- Read on for relevant tips first (1 min)
Our Manhattan cocktail variation is possibly the easiest Manhattan recipe you’ll ever come across. Yet it boasts sophisticated flavors and is light and elegant. One of our favorite craft beer cocktails and a great twist on the original.
What’s in a Traditional Manhattan Cocktail?
The classic Manhattan drink ingredients are:
- Whiskey. Rye whiskey is the original spirit of choice and bourbon a close second. Both are considered classic options, favored for their flavor profiles – rye whiskey for its lively floral and fruity notes accompanied by subtle spice. Bourbon for its mellow vanilla notes, caramel and honey. Canadian whiskey was used during Prohibition and is still used on occasion today, as well as Tennessee whiskey or whiskey blends.
- Vermouth. Typically sweet vermouth, to take the edge of the whiskey. Sometimes a combination of dry and sweet vermouth is used.
- Bitters. Angostura or orange bitters are added for their aromatic qualities and as a balancing ingredient, to counter the sweetness of the vermouth and add depth to the libation.
- Garnish. The garnish is typically luxardo or maraschino cherries, frequently bourbon cherries. Orange twist is quite common as well, often times both garnishes are used in combination.
Kriek Manhattan – an Exquisitely flavored Variation
In this Manhattan cocktail version we replace the vermouth and the bitters with kriek – a lambic beer conditioned with sour cherries.
If you are familiar with kriek – you do not need convincing as to its merits vis-a-vis a Manhattan. If you are not – you will be impressed by the complexity of its flavors.
Kriek (the Flemish word for cherry) is a spontaneously fermented beer original to Belgium – specifically the vicinity of Brussels. It has a lambic base (spontaneously fermented ale) with sour cherries added or sometimes cherry juice. It is both dry and pleasantly sour, with an array of intricate aromas and flavors – a mineral sweetness, subtle funk, oak and orange.
Manhattan Cocktail Proportions
The classic cocktail is two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and a couple of dashes of bitters.
With the more subtle flavors of the kriek, you can absolutely use a 1:1 ratio of whiskey to kriek (our favorite proportion) or adjust the kriek down or up to taste.
How to Make a Manhattan Cocktail with Kriek
The cardinal rule is to stir and not shake the cocktail.
The rest is simple.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Measure and add the rye whiskey first, then the kriek.
- Stir, do not shake.
- Fine strain into a glass.
- Garnish and enjoy.
We like to use tart morello cherries for the garnish along with an orange twist – in keeping with the character of kriek.
NOTE: The Manhattan cocktail is served up, not on the rocks.
Hers and His
The choice of glassware matters when it comes to Manhattans. Both high stemmed cocktail (aka martini) glasses and large old fashioned rocks glasses are traditional. Women seem to gravitate towards the first kind (although admittedly after a few drinks the appeal of the old fashioned glass increases considering how much easier it is to balance).
We love serving ours in a hers and his version, as seen below:)
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
- 2 oz kriek*
- cherries** or orange twist for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add the whiskey and kriek and stir (do not shake).
- Strain into a cocktail (martini) glass or an old fashioned (rocks) glass, garnish with cherries or twist and serve.
*The flavors of Kriek are so complex and sophisticated that it completely eliminates the need of using bitters to balance the combination of whiskey and sweet vermouth. Kriek has a subtle cherry sweetness matched by a subtle sour taste, it is dry, with funky notes, vanilla, oak and orange.
**Try morello cherries instead of traditional maraschino or luxardo. Their slightly sour taste perfectly complements the kriek.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 344mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 7gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g