Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 23, 2008

Soldier Field Manhattan

Watching a brutally cold Monday Night Football game last night between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, I was inspired to make up a cocktail to match. I’ve found recently that I’m a fan of unapologetically big drinks – lots of spirits and lots of vermouth work just fine for me, much more than elaborate drinks with more liqueurs or syrups. I’ve been enjoying a Martinez as a staple lately, as well as classics like an Opera or a Deshler. But the Manhattan remains right there with my all time favorite cocktails.

As I’ve come to appreciate Manhattans (not to mention Martinis) to a greater and greater degree over the last year, it’s become clear that strong pours of whiskey or gin with the mere idea of vermouth don’t cut it for me. The traditional recipes call for vermouth and it’s for a quite good reason: vermouth is good and cocktails aren’t an excuse to pour three ounces of your preferred spirits in a glass with ice.

With that said, I wanted to make a monster cocktail last night, something to honor a huge football game on a frigid night. Something that were I in Chicago in subzero weather, I’d want to have. What I came up with is a twist on a Manhattan with a lot of punch and a nice, cherry depth to it.

Soldier Field Manhattan

2 oz rye whiskey (Wild Turkey 101 Rye)
1 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula)
1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
2 dashes Fee Brothers cherry bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers whiskey barrel aged bitters

Build in a large rocks glass. Stir. Garnish with two rye cherries.

I’ve made a number of different batches of cherries with different spirits to use in my cocktails. My rye cherries are merely a batch of frozen sweet cherries covered and jarred with 80 proof rye whiskey. After a few weeks of maceration, the cherries are jam packed with whiskey and add a nice kick to the rye Manhattan.

I’ve been looking for my preferred variation of a Manhattan for a while and this is probably my favorite version so far….maybe even my keeper.

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