An Ode to the Manhattan (and My Mom)

Is there a more perfect cocktail than the Manhattan? If my mom were alive, she would be 70 today. She was a lifelong Manhattan drinker, consuming one every evening. There was no measuring or straining. You threw about 2 parts of cheap American whiskey and 1 part of unrefrigerated M&R sweet vermouth into a glass with 3 ice cubes and a bright red cherry, and called it done. I was not a fan at the time and I wouldn’t try any kind of whiskey or bourbon until I was 18, but I did have a thing for those booze soaked cherries she would often share with me.
Today, I’m a bit of a cocktail enthusiast and a regular consumer of Manhattans. As often as possible, I switch the ingredients, though never the ratios. To me, its 2:1 whiskey/bourbon/rye to good sweet vermouth (that has been kept under refrigeration), a few dashes of assorted bitters and 2 Luxardo maraschino cherries, when I have them. Always stirred on ice and strained into a chilled glass with a large ice cube, it just might be perfection in a glass. If you could see me now mom.

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