The Grand Manhattan Is A Sweeter Twist On The Classic Whiskey Cocktail

For many, the Manhattan is a cornerstone of the cocktail world. But for those who find the classic recipe too dry or intense, there's a delightful variation waiting to be discovered: the Grand Manhattan. This version is ideal for those looking for a sophisticated twist with a sweeter dimension to the traditional recipe.

Before delving into the Grand Manhattan, let's first understand the original version. A traditional Manhattan recipe consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. It's typically served in a chilled cocktail glass with a cherry garnish, presenting a harmonious balance of bold whiskey notes and the subtle sweetness of the vermouth. The Grand Manhattan offers a richer and more complex drinking experience by introducing an additional sweeter element via liqueur. Grand Marnier, a French orange liqueur renowned for its vibrant flavor, is a popular choice for this twist and lends the cocktail the "grand" part of its name. Its citrusy notes and hint of sweetness harmonize with the whiskey and vermouth, creating a more indulgent taste profile. Cointreau, a well-known triple-sec orange-flavored liqueur, would be a good stand-in if you don't have Grand Marnier.

So, where to start? And what whiskey to use? Traditionally, a classic Manhattan contains rye whiskey; however, you might consider swapping out rye for bourbon. Bourbons like Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, or Buffalo Trace can add a smoother, slightly sweeter note to your cocktail.

A sweeter celebration of the classic

Another method of introducing additional sweetness is by playing with the varieties of vermouth — or even adding a splash extra to your cocktail. For example, your Grand Manhattan could include the classic Italian sweet Martini Rosso vermouth from Martini & Rossi. Or, you might want to choose one with deeper caramel notes like French Vermouth de Chambéry Rouge from Dolin Rouge. While not a direct replacement for the sweetness of Grand Marnier or sweeter vermouth, orange bitters can add a subtle orange essence. Bitters are often used in small amounts to contribute subtle complexity and aromatic notes, tying everything together.

The Grand Manhattan is the perfect choice for those who appreciate the complexity of a Manhattan but crave more indulgence. It's a fantastic option for after-dinner drinks, or for those seeking a richer sipping experience. The drink's sweetness also makes it a happy companion to desserts like dark chocolate truffles or crème brûlée, creating a memorable ending to any meal.

So, the next time you're in the mood for a Manhattan, consider taking a grand detour and exploring this delightful variation — you might discover your new favorite whiskey cocktail. Whether you're a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or someone looking to explore new flavors, the Grand Manhattan promises a sophisticated and satisfying drinking experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression.