Rod’s Rocket Fuel
I love a Manhattan, it seems that all the different bars, restaurants and regions each have their own variations on a theme and here is mine. After years of brutal research, forcing myself to imbibe a few thousand, I have found the jet fuel that rockets me into orbit. However, before I go into the fuel mixture itself a word about the vehicle. For me a fine craft cocktail needs to be in a nice heavy lead crystal glass; not required mind you as I have sipped some in paper cups and from a canteen, but the crystal sure lends itself to enjoying the elixir. Then the ice: one large cube to keep it cold but not water it down. I like to chill and stir the ingredients first before pouring them into the tumbler with the one big fat cube of ice. The silicon cube trays can be found online.
Now for the good part, pick a fine bourbon, for my money a rye whiskey. I feel it needs to be hundred proof or better, you need the 100 proof to “stand up” to the bitters. One of my favorites is 126 proof Willet straight rye whiskey. (can be found at Piedmont Grocery). For the bitters, (a tip from my good friend Pete) I use black walnut bitters. I have tried several bitters, and they are all passable, but the black walnut bitters are a fantastic aeromantic add to the concoction. I use them liberally, at least 2 dashes and sometimes more. Then a better than average, sweet vermouth, here is one I like, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. I never measure, just eyeball it, but roughly a quarter cup of rye, 1 or a bit more tablespoons of sweet vermouth and couple healthy dashes of black walnut bitters. Pour them over ice and give it good stir to get everything well chilled strain and transfer over a single fat ice cube into a heavy bottom cocktail glass. Garnish with a quality cherry. Blast off!