The Manhattan is the drink that made me love whiskey. That’s saying a lot, since the first one I ever ordered cost about $5 from a bar that makes its money on PBR and Old Style. Still, I got hooked on the sweet, mellow flavor and soon began whipping up Manhattans at home with Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon and Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth.
I still love a classic bourbon Manhattan, but every now and then I splash a bit of Luxardo Maraschino in my glass. It’s a special treat; Luxardo is so sweet that it’s easy to overdo it, but when you get just the right amount, it can completely elevate a simple drink. The Kitchn’s 9-Bottle Bar series knows what’s up: its Red Hook cocktail combines elements from two of my favorite drinks, the Martinez and the Manhattan. I haven’t made the Red Hook yet, but it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to buy some rye to mix up my Manhattan game. And instead of a splash of Luxardo this time, I got fancy and made Luxardo-infused ice cubes. (And by fancy I mean a 5-year-old could do this. A really badass 5-year-old.)
Rye Manhattan with Luxardo Ice Cubes
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Dash of Angostura bitters
- Luxardo ice cubes
To make the Luxardo ice cubes, mix one part Luxardo Maraschino liqueur with four parts water. (1 ounce of Luxardo mixed with 4 ounces of water makes about six standard-size ice cubes.)
Fill a shaker or pint glass with ice and add the rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a lowball glass filled with two Luxardo ice cubes and two regular ice cubes. Garnish with a skewer of cherries.
This drink is definitely a belly-warming sipper, which gives the ice time to melt a little and infuse your Manhattan with a subtle cherry flavor. Feel free to add more Luxardo cubes if you’re a cherry fiend. Enjoy!