Serious Eats: Recipes

Time for a Drink: the White Manhattan

[Photograph: Paul Clarke]

Every spirit seems to have its fleeting moment, and for white whiskey (aka white dog, the form whiskey takes before it goes into the barrel for aging), it seemed like 2010 was gonna be it. But as I wrote on Wednesday, Heaven Hill Distillery—one of the big guns in American whiskey—just released uncut, unaged versions of their rye and one of their bourbon recipes, which could prolong white dog's day in the sun.

While tasting new-make whiskey can be an educational exercise, demonstrating as it does what bourbon or rye tastes like before it spends several years in a charred oak barrel, white whiskey has also made its way into a few cocktails where its character can be appreciated on its own merits. Here's the best one I've had so far: the White Manhattan.

Created by San Francisco bartender and globe-trotting whiskey fiend Neyah White, the White Manhattan takes one of the 19th century models of a Manhattan—whiskey, vermouth, bitters, and a trace of liqueur just because—and tweaks it to accommodate the bright, malty flavor of new-make whiskey. In lieu of a Manhattan's standard sweet vermouth, which is a dusky red, the White Manhattan utilizes lighter-colored though still gently sweet blanc vermouth; and for added sweetness, as well as an herbaceous richness, the drink is laced with the French herbal liqueur Benedictine.

Light in character yet full-flavored and complex, the White Manhattan is a great way to give white dog a mixological workout.

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