Make mine 'the Perfect Manhattan'

Fri, 04/05/2013 - 10:30pm

And a great place to enjoy it is Francine Bistro at 55 Chestnut Street in Camden. Let’s face it, as the wind brings us into spring, temperatures can still dip and we all know there may be at least one more snowstorm on the waiting list. The chill of being outdoors can stay with you long after you come inside and there’s nothing that says cozy cocktail by the fire than a Classic Manhattan.

Manhattans can be traced back to the 1860s and as the name implies it is generally accepted that the drink was invented in the New York borough by that name. It is hinted, however, that it was being concocted as early as the 1830s around several sections of the city. The drink became popular and people began asking for it simply as a Manhattan.

Traditionalists insist that a Manhattan be made with American rye whiskey, but nowadays, it is not uncommon to see it made with Canadian whiskey, or bourbon. For our purposes we will stick to the traditional method. That’s what took us to Francine Bistro and bartender Chip Dewing, of Hope.

The Bistro insists on being traditional. Dewing uses a whiskey that has had a history with Manhattans that dates back to its beginnings.

America’s only rye whiskey has been around since 1810. The Old Overholt Distilleries were originally bottled in western Pennsylvania. Abe Overholt found that distilling and bottling his rye was more profitable than selling it on the open market.  

Old Overholt is now owned by the Beam Distilleries and resides in Kentucky.

Once considered America’s premiere whiskey, it was one of the few brands that were allowed to be bottled and sold as medicinal whiskey during prohibition. It is still the oldest continuing operating brand of American whiskey. It was rumored to be the drink of choice for the gunfighter Doc Holliday.

Dewing shows you how to make the perfect Manhattan.


A perfect Manhattan

1. Chill a martini glass by filling it with ice and water.

2. You’ll need a shaker with ice and add the following.

3. 4 parts rye

4. 1 to 2 parts sweet Vermouth

5. A drop of bitters

6. Shake until the drink is ice cold.

7. Discard the ice and water in the martini glass and strain the contents of your shaker into it.

8. Garnish with a stemmed cherry.

It can also be served over ice in a lowball glass. Ice cold is the optimal word here.