Holiday Recipe Series: The ‘Old Fashioned’ Manhattan

Posted on December 20, 2012 by


Local foodie David Hendrick knows just what the doctor ordered for a cold winter’s night – the manhattan. What’s his secret? Homemade cocktail cherries and fresh vermouth! And if his candid instructions aren’t enough to make you smile, we’re sure one sip of this old-fashioned spirit will do the trick!

An ‘Old Fashioned’ ManhattanP1000072


2 parts bourbon
1 part sweet vermouth
3 dashes bitters
A fat orange slice
Cocktail cherries*


So, this isn’t going to win any awards for innovation, but this hybrid of a Manhattan and Old Fashioned always wins the award for DELICIOUS. Plus, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand. No infused simple syrups or out-of-season herbs here.

I like mine with bourbon, but any kind of whiskey will do. Your real improvement from a drink
like this is going to come from using a good–and not too old!– vermouth. The Dolin brand is
excellent and affordable.

And if you happened to have homemade cocktail cherries on hand, well, you’re just way ahead
of the game. {See below for the recipe.}

Anyway, everything goes in a glass with a couple of big ice cubes. Don’t even think about
skipping the bitters.

For one drink, I’d do two ounces bourbon and one ounce vermouth. Muddle the orange first if
you want. Make sure you squeeze it to release the juice, if not.



*Cocktail Cherries Recipe

1 cup or more fresh cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown liquor (rum, whiskey or brandy)
1/4 cup sugar or real maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large pieces orange zest
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla bean

I love cocktail cherries, but hate the neon-red, high fructose corn syrup bombs that most bars put in your drink. Luckily, making your own “maraschino” cherries is incredibly easy and endlessly tweak-able. If you like your cherries sweet, add more sugar. If cinnamon is not one of
your favorite flavors, leave it out. Try this with nutmeg, cloves, star anise, allspice, etc. Also, it’s completely up to you whether to pit the cherries first or not. Some people think the pits add flavor. If you leave them in, be sure to warn your guests!

To make the cherries above, add all of the ingredients above except the cherries to a pan and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cherries and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and store in an airtight container, making sure the cherries are submerged in the liquid. Top off with liquor of choice if you need more liquid. These cherries will be best after a couple of days and keep in the refrigerator for at least a month.