Perfect Sinful Manhattan

I love a good Manhattan.  It is really a wonderful combination of whisk(e)y vermouth and a little bit of bitters forming a cornerstone of mixology.  This one is a particular combination I made at the request of Chef Russell Jackson. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I tend to get into Food Network Star.  I am intensely curious about how Food Network picks their chefs and stars, so the Food Network Star show lets me see some of that process.  I discovered that by following the contestants on Twitter, I find out a lot more about their personalities and what was driving the show than the way the broadcast is edited.  I tweet at the contestants, try to find ones who share some of my own particular passions and engage them through social media.  Maybe some of them think I pester them during the show, but I hold to my belief that the ones who tweet back are enjoying the interactions.

In Season 9, I clicked with Chef Russell Jackson’s Culinary Sins viewpoint and his overall personality.  On the twitter, I discovered that he is also a fan of good cocktails and fun.  I tweeted with a number of the contestants that year and started doing cocktails every week for the show because that is what I do.  I was given the status of Culinary Sin Mixologist (though there may be more out there) throughout that year.  I continue to tweet with past contestants because I found them to be fun people as well as current contestants.  When Chef Jackson tells me to make a drink, the only response I have is “Yes, Chef!”

For this year’s finale, he requested something bourbon heavy and we have had Manhattan’s before, including a Manhattan Royale variation last year.  After my tiki excursion last week, this week we are going with a Perfect Manhattan.  We’ve talk about Manhattans on the blog before – Manhattan Stories.  Here, we will work up a “Perfect” Manhattan which splits the whisk(e)y with two components.  I started with Knob Creek 120 Proof bourbon but wanted to mellow it out a little bit.  I added one of my standbys, Bulleit Rye, to even out the bourbon.  Carpano Antica formula sweet vermouth will hold up to the strength of the flavors from the Knob Creek’s heavy proof and the bitters were split between Angostura and Fee Brothers.


PSM Mis en PLace



  • 30ml Barrel Strength Bourbon (Knob Creek 120 proof here)
  • 30ml Rye (Bulleit Rye)
  • 30ml Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
  • 1-2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1-2 Dashes Fee Brothers Bitters
  • Lemon Twist for garnish



  1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a shaker tin or mixing glass 2/3 full of ice.
  2. Stir roughly 50 times.  Make sure that you are using the spoon to push the mass of ice around, and not whisking the ingredients.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist



There you have a Perfect Sinful Manhattan as commissioned by Chef Russell Jackson. That 120 Proof bourbon provides a stiff spine for this drink, but the spice from the rye and Carpano Antica come through wonderfully.  It goes down easy, maybe too easy.  As you restrain yourself from having another sip, the flavors start to unfold on your tongue with the herbal notes of the vermouth and rounded caramel of the whisk(e)ys dancing across the palate.

For me, tonight’s dinner to go with this sublime and rich drink was a plate of antipasto including La Quercia Prosciutto, Hillcrest Artisan Meats cappicola, mozzarella, olives, and freshly baked bread.


PSM Dinner

Oh, and my wife came back from her cake decorating class from Zara Abbasi (from a No Kid Hungry fundraiser) with this:

PSM Dessert