my best manhattan recipe

My Favorite Manhattan

You order a Manhattan, and the bartender grabs a dusty, room temperature bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth. That usually means two things: 1. You should have ordered a beer, and 2. That cocktail is going to suck. I’ve learned my lesson: Make Manhattans at home!

P.S. Yes, you should refrigerate your vermouth.

For me, the best Manhattan recipe isn’t about the whiskey. Sure, you should start with a halfway decent rye or bourbon, but it’s really the supporting characters that make or break it. You have…

The Vermouth

I have to thank my friend Matt for introducing me to Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, a semi-sweet, rich vermouth that runs $18.99 per 750mL at Binny’s. That’s roughly double the price of your baseline vermouths, but it’s worth it, I swear! Cocchi’s slightly bitter undertone pairs really nicely with…

The Garnish

If you don’t like cherry, leave now. Or maybe reconsider. Not all cherries/cherry flavors are created equal. Leave behind those memories of gagging on cherry-flavored cough syrup and treat yourself to some Luxardo maraschino cherries. They’re packed in a thick, decadent syrup, some of which always makes its way into my drink for a touch more sweetness. As if that wasn’t enough cherry, the last component is…

The Bitters

Just kidding. Despite the name, these Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters from Bittercube don’t taste much like cherry. They sure are delicious, though! Notes of cocoa and bitter almonds echo the cocoa flavor in the Cocchi, and who doesn’t like a little vanilla-cherry action?

Put it all together, and you get…

rittenhouse rye luxardo maraschino cherries cocchi vermouth

My Favorite Manhattan Recipe

  • 2 ounces Rittenhouse Rye*
  • 1 ounce Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
  • 3 to 5 drops Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters
  • Luxardo maraschino cherry

Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add rye, vermouth, and bitters. Stir for about 30 seconds. (I use a plastic chopstick decorated with little panda faces.) Strain into a chilled martini glass. Finally, scoop a Luxardo cherry AND a bit of syrup from the jar and gently plop it into the glass.

*I usually go for rye because I like a little bite, but sometimes I pour bourbon if I’m in the mood for a sweeter Manhattan.

my best manhattan recipe

luxardo cherry syrup

my best manhattan recipe

drinking a manhattan

I’m telling you, it is SO WORTH IT to invest in good Manhattan components. Your chill evenings at home will thank you. Cheers and happy mixing!

driftless cardigan close

Driftless Cardigan

Per usual for me, December was a mad rush to finish sewing Christmas gifts: namely flannel robes for my brothers, lounge pants for Marc, and a Pendleton wool purse for my cousin. Anyone who sews knows how painstaking it can be to make a gift for someone for fear that it won’t turn out perfect.

When it comes to sewing for myself, I’ve learned to let go. To not care if that topstitching isn’t 100% parallel or if the invisible zipper is slightly… visible. It takes a lot for a perfectionist to surrender to flaws! But that chill attitude flies out the window when it comes to gifts. That’s why I was so glad I had time to squeeze in a quick palate cleanser for myself before our holiday trip.Read More »

wedding guest outfits

My Handmade Wedding Guest Outfits, Ranked

One of my favorite things to make? A party dress. Even better when that party celebrates the nuptials of good friends or family! But for all the hours I’ve put into sewing wedding guest dresses over the past few years, I have a pitiful amount of photo evidence to show for it. I’m usually too busy passing out programs or introducing myself to extended family or warming up with some Robyn or—you know—generally enjoying the company of others to bother with photos.

I did manage to document, however poorly, at least one photo of each of the wedding guest outfits I’ve sewn—some of which I’ve worn multiple times! And because I like rankings and lists, I decided to rank them based on three criteria:

  1. Sewing Enjoyment. Was it a breeze, or did it nearly go in the garbage disposal?
  2. Comfort. Was it secret pajamas, or secret sandpaper?
  3. Confidence Level. Did it make me feel fierce, or fiercely boring?

Read More »

pendleton grainline archer

Pendleton Wool Archer Button Up

Do you ever buy a killer new pair of boots, or a fancy candle, or even a perfectly baked asiago cheese focaccia—and feel a pang of sadness on first wear, light, or bite? You’re not alone. Shopping-induced dopamine is a real thing! And so is the wistful feeling you get the moment your shiny new purchase isn’t so new anymore.

Anyone who buys fabric knows this feeling all too well, which is why so many of us hoard some of our most beautiful textiles. If we never cut into it, we can hold on to that shopping high forever… right?!

Wrong. If you’re anything like me (as in, you have the occasional neurotic tendencies), your fabric taunts you at every turn.Read More »

gorton's fisherman and rainbow fish

Happy Halloween from Rainbow Fish!

rainbow fish

Who here was obsessed with the book Rainbow Fish growing up? I absolutely loved it. What little kid doesn’t like adorable sea creatures and pretty shiny things? I believe the moral of the story is that it’s good to share with your friends…? Sure, why not. What really stuck with me? The image of that goofy little fish and his beautiful silver scales.

I struggled this year coming up with Halloween costume ideas. Then I remembered how much Marc looks like the Gorton’s Fisherman. I thought maybe I’d go as a fish stick, but then realized I could easily be mistaken for a Twinkie or a mozzarella stick or a worm.

So Gorton turned vegetarian for the night and took Rainbow Fish as his date to the party.Read More »

My First Quilt

Up until a few months ago, I was quilt-indifferent. I had nothing against quilts. In fact, I was very loyal to a particular twin-size comforter from Target all throughout college. It just never occurred to me that I should try to make a quilt. Quilting has always seemed so distant from the kinds of things I like to sew.Read More »

alcoholic seltzer

Alcoholic Seltzer: My New Obsession

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you might be wondering, “Where have all the cocktails gone?” It’s a valid question, and I have a few answers for you.

1. I started to second guess whether I was “qualified” to write about cocktails. I’m not a bartender! I’ve only taken one cocktail class in my life! I realize that those reservations are stupid. I love cocktails. I buy books about them. I make them at home. I order them at fancy (and shitty) bars. I share them with friends. And I will continue to write about them if I so well please.Read More »