Some of the best cocktails are a simple variation on an old favorite and The Rustic Manhattan is a shining example of this. The recipe was created by Robert Watrous of San Diego, California and it is a fresh twist on the popular Manhattan.
Though it was created in California, The Rustic Manhattan is sourced from the East Coast because it features two fantastic spirits from New York. The apple whiskey of Leopold Bros. is a fantastic example of the classic flavored whiskey and the vermouth is a very rare, hand-crafted raspberry-flavored vermouth from Uncouth Vermouth.
It is a spectacular drink that, when it all comes together, has a beautiful flavor profile to bridge that gap between summer and autumn.
- Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.
- Stir well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a fan of apple slices and a maraschino cherry.
(Recipe from Robert Watrous of San Diego, California)
More Tips for Making a Great Rustic Manhattan
The Whiskey. Leopold Bros. New York Apple Whiskey is really one of the best apple whiskies produced today. It is made with all natural ingredients from real New York state apples and has an amazing flavor that is perfect for mixing into cocktails.
It sells for around $45/750ml bottle and is a 40% ABV (80 proof) whiskey and it is available at a number of retailers, both online and off.
If you are looking for a substitute for Leopold Bros., proceed with caution. The flavored whiskey market is littered with whiskies that are not of the same caliber, either too sweet or unnaturally flavored. This cocktail deserves a true apple whiskey and I would avoid the likes of Jim Beam Apple in this instance.
The Vermouth. Likewise, the vermouth used in Watrous' recipe is very specific and I have yet to find a commercially available substitute. That said, waiting for or doing whatever you need to acquire Uncouth Vermouth Wild Raspberry is worth the wait. It sells for around $36/500ml bottle and is 18% ABV (36 proof). This small-batch vermouth produced by a New York company that prides itself on fresh, local, and ethically sourced ingredients. They produce a number of other aperitifs as well and all are worth checking out.
The other option that is available for a substitute is to make your own raspberry-infused vermouth. The sweetness of the raspberries would be perfect for a dry vermouth base and the infusion should take about one week though I would recommend testing it periodically.
The Bitters. The last ingredient of The Rustic Manhattan that warrants some discussion is the bitters. Fee Brothers makes a great line of cocktail bitters and have some unique flavors available. The Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters used in this drink are really irreplaceable and would be a great bottle to add to your liquor stock anyway, so you can use this recipe as an excuse to try them out.
How Strong is The Rustic Manhattan?
If The Rustic Manhattan were mixed up using the exact brands from Watrous' recipe, then it would come in at a very pleasant 16% ABV (32 proof).