A Classic Manhattan

Manhattan 1

My new shaker has finally arrived and to celebrate I’ve whipped up my all time favourite cocktail (albeit one that shouldn’t be shaken!)

The Manhattan has everything I want in a cocktail. I’m not a fan of long, icy drinks, I like the ones that come in tiny glasses and have to be sipped in a terribly civilised fashion. I want them to be bitter and strong, preferably with a hint of something zesty and a hip flask that you’re permitted to take home.

Manhattan ingredients

I also love simplicity. A Manhattan has just 4 ingredients; bourbon (or rye whiskey, if you prefer), vermouth, bitters (angostura if you’re after authenticity) and some kind of garnish. There are, however, variations within those ingredients that you can experiment with until you find your perfect blend.

Manhattan 2

I like to use a good, sweet, red vermouth resulting in a ‘sweet’ Manhattan, if you use dry, white vermouth you’ll end up with a ‘dry’ Manhattan (which I find a little too bitter for me) and if you go for half and half it’s known as a ‘perfect’ Manhattan. If you use those terms in a decent cocktail bar they’ll know what you’re talking about, I promise!

Manhattan 3

As far as garnish goes there are 2 authentic options, lemon zest or a maraschino cherry.  Whilst I love a maraschino cherry, it’s tough to find a decent jar of them in the shops (i.e. those soaked in maraschino liqueur) and besides, I’m very partial to a bit of orange zest, so forget authenticity!

Manhattan 4

It was a barman in the fabulous Worship Street Whistling Shop who first showed me the proper way to mix a Manhattan.

He told me that if you shake it, you risk bruising the bourbon and diluting the flavour with ice chips. It’ll also leave a nasty film on top of the drink and make it cloudy and unappealing. So get your stirring chopstick out! (Admittedly the barman didn’t recommend using a chopstick to stir your cocktail but sadly I don’t have a bar spoon.)

Orange zest 1

Whilst making this drink I discovered how difficult it is to cut a strip of orange zest without leaving a load of white pith on it. Soooo many attempts before I got it right!

Plus I couldn’t decide which picture of zest I liked best, so you get 2!

Orange zest 2

I usually like my Manhattan served in a vintage coupe, I’m pretentious like that, but since I don’t have one I went with a fabulous, 1950s sherry glass that belonged to my Nan.

Manhattan 5

I have a set of these glasses in 3 different sizes, but I suspect they were never used by my Nan, she wasn’t a big drinker. Apparently she used to have the occasional snifter, once every few years, that left her rather giggly, but sadly I never got to witness it.

Go on, give this cocktail a whirl and pretend you’re in Mad Men. You know you want to.

Manhattan 6

A Classic Manhattan
Makes 1

Ingredients:
2 measures of bourbon
1 measure of sweet vermouth
3 big splashes of angostura bitters
Orange zest

Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer until nice and frosty.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the bourbon, vermouth and bitters. With a bar spoon (or a chopstick!) smoothly stir the ice around the glass for about 30 second.

Leave to stand for a further 30 seconds and then gently stir again. Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass. To do this I just popped the top on my shaker, but if you have cocktail strainer, use that.

Cut a strip of orange zest, ensuring that there is minimal white pith on the back of the skin. Over the top of the cocktail glass, hold the zest skin side down and crack it in half lengthways, this creates a film of gorgeous orange oil on the top of the drink.

Relax and enjoy, Mr Draper!

Manhattan 7

Peach Iced White Tea

Peach iced tea

Bubble tea. I absolutely luuurve bubble tea. I’ve only actually had it 3 times but that’s enough to fall in love, right? Right?? Fruity iced tea with crazy, chewy tapioca balls in the bottom that shoot up the straw when you least expect it. Oh my goodness!

OK so I’m probably massively behind the curve here and hugely uncool, but I don’t care, deal with it people.

Tea bags

Whilst I would love to recreate the bubble tea experience at home, I feel that would ruin it for me. It’s supposed to be a weird treat on a Sunday afternoon stroll and my straws are way too small. Besides, it’s probably not a good idea to ingest that many e-numbers and that much processed sugar on a regular basis.

However, everyone needs a go to recipe for iced tea. It has to be one of the most refreshing drinks out there and the addition of peaches, just pushes it over the edge into utter awesomeness (real word? Not sure I care…)

Peach Iced Tea 2

We’re in a Choose Your Own Adventure situation here people. (Or we would be, if they wrote a Choose Your Own Adventure book about how you like your tea. I doubt they did, that would probably be a tad dry for your average 10 year old. I’d probably read it though.)

Like your tea a little stronger? Sub your favourite black tea bags for the white tea. Got an insanely sweet tooth? Double (no, triple!) the sugar. Want it to be super peachy? Puree the peaches into the tea once it’s cooled or whack in some peach juice. Don’t even like peaches? Don’t put them in. Duh.

Peach Iced Tea 3

It’s basically majorly customisable and incredibly easy to whip up on a hot summers day. (Not that we have those in England, but we can put the heating on and parade around in a summer dress and sunglasses whenever we like.) You can even pop a little booze in there if you’re feeling cheeky. I’m thinking bourbon….in keeping with the Southern American theme. Do it, you know you want to. Sorry, did that come across a little too ‘pusher’?

Peach Iced Tea 4

Peach Iced White Tea
This version isn’t hugely sweet, as that’s my preference, but you can add more sugar to taste.

Ingredients:

2 ripe peaches
4 bags of white tea
1/2 cup of caster sugar

Slice the peaches and put them in a large jug or pitcher. Throw in the tea bags and pore over 4 cups of boiling water.

Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes and then immediately remove the tea bags. If you leave them for too long the tannins will start making the tea bitter.

Add the sugar and give it a good stir until it’s all dissolved. Add 4 cups of cold water and leave the whole lot to cool. You can take the peaches out once it’s cool if you want, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

Once cool it’s ready to go. Serve it over plenty of ice,with a slug of bourbon if you fancy it, and a few of the peaches on top.

Pop any leftovers in the fridge, I found that it was still lovely the next day. Enjoy!