We could argue all day about what makes up a Classic Manhattan Cocktail. Bourbon or rye? They're both whiskeys—rye's a bit drier, bourbon's a bit sweeter—so use whichever you prefer. Or maybe you prefer Scotch whiskey or Irish whiskey. Really, go ahead and use whatever brown liquor is in your cupboard. The sweet vermouth, bitters, and cherry will help anything along....
If you were clever enough to put up a jar or two of Spiced Brandied Cherries during cherry season, by all means, use one (or two, or three) in this sophisticated cocktail. I've even been known to throw a bit of the cherry-infused spiced brandy in the glass as well.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the liquor, vermouth, and bitters. Add about a cup of ice. If you like your cocktails icy, like I do, cover and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. If you like your cocktails smoother, more velvety in texture, then simply stir the liquid and ice for, again, about 30 seconds. In either case, you want the ice to melt a bit to soften the drink as well as cool it down. Strain into a martini or cocktail glass and add a cherry or two.
Note: Again, if you're using homemade Spiced Brandied Cherries, go ahead and add a dash or two of the liquor from the cherries to the cocktail when you shake it.