Pappy’s Manhattan Cocktail
If you are a fan of a classic whiskey drink, you are going to love my take on the traditional Manhattan cocktail recipe. I first tasted this special version of the well-known cocktail in New York several years ago, and after a bit of cajoling, was able to get the recipe out of the bartender. I probably wrote it down on a napkin (after a few drinks) yet amazingly I was able to recreate this luscious and complex bourbon whiskey concoction where amaro and Madeira wine take the place of the usual sweet or dry vermouth. There’s a further twist in that it uses orange (not Agnostura) bitters and a dash of special vanilla simple syrup.
What’s the secret ingredient that makes my spin on the classic Manhattan cocktail recipe so great?
I make my own vanilla simple syrup which, as the name implies, is simple to make: just heat equal portions of water and sugar. To make the vanilla version, I heat 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar. Then I add a split and scraped vanilla bean into the mixture as it gently heats on medium-low heat. When the sugar has melted, turn off the heat and let that vanilla flavor soak into the syrup. Remove the bean and store the cooled mixture in a jar in the fridge until you need it. If you don’t have a vanilla bean available, add 1 teaspoon of the best vanilla extract you can find (or make your own!). Although the vanilla simple syrup is a terrific addition to cocktails it can also be used in espresso drinks and even iced tea.
If you’re wondering about the name of this Manhattan cocktail recipe, well, at home my nickname is Pappy. So when my family and friends want me to make this drink for them, they simply say “I want Pappy’s Manhattan!”