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Cocktails O’Clock: The Classic Manhattan

A truly great cityscape, and a cocktail to match...
A truly great cityscape, and a cocktail to match…

This cocktail is literally one of the greats. If it played basketball it would be Michael Jordan, if it played baseball it would be Babe Ruth, and if he played football (Soccer) he would be a cross between Brad Friedel and Landon Donavon.

That’s right all you Americans, it is literally one of the best cocktails in the world. Congratultions.

The Manhattan is a whisky (Whiskey if you’re from America/Ireland) based cocktail, and is traditionally served in a cocktail glass (similar style to that of a Martini).

Combining 2 parts whisky with 1 part sweet vermouth and a few drops of Angostura Bitters this cocktail oozes class.

The addition of an orange peel just solidifies its position as one of the worlds best cocktails.

There are several stories vying for the title for the history of the original Manhattan cocktail, all of which are fantastically flawed. But they all share one thing: the Romance of the cocktail era. read more about them here & here.

As for the recipe itself, have a little look-see at this:

The Manhattan cocktail, don't argue with class...
The Manhattan cocktail, don’t argue with class…

Classic Manhattan Cocktail:

2 parts Whisky

1 Part Sweet Vermouth

1 or 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Orange Peel & Maraschino Cherry for garnish.

Method:

1) Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into your glass of choice (whatever glass you choose, make sure it is well chilled).

2) garnish with a squeeze of an orange peel (dropping the peel in the drink when done) and a maraschino cherry.

There truly is not a better a cocktail than the Manhattan when viewing this wonderful city in all its glory…

Sunset in Manhattan, a truly wonderful sight...
Sunset in Manhattan, a truly wonderful sight…

TODAY IS CINCO DE MAYO!!!

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But it’s not all fun and games both sides of the border…

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican themed festive day celebrated more in the USA than it is in Mexico. Mexico generally does not celebrate Cinco de Mayo (with the exception of Puebla which celebrates the festive day fantastically) and contrary to popular American belief it is NOT the Mexican Independence Day.

Cinco de Mayo (literally translated as May 5th in English) is a commemoration to the Mexican victory against the French back in 1862. This was an unlikely victory as the French outnumbered and outgunned the Mexicans 2-1. Yet the Mexicans still went on to beat the French in the town of Puebla.

Naturally Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal in Puebla but it is also a popular celebration north of the border in quite a few of the US states. The previous Mexican territory states of Texas & California hold some of the biggest Cinco de Mayo events in the US, not to mention events celebrated in Denver, New York and Portland, as well as in Mexican restaurants across the world.

The best thing about Cinco de Mayo is the relative carefree attitude towards the celebrations; with parades, fairs, mariachi bands, Mexican food and the joy of all things alcohol (of course), including Tequila & Corona (among others).

Now you are brushed up on the idea of Cinco de Mayo, here are some of my cocktail tips and some places to head out to over the next week or so…

Cocktails:

It’s all about Tequila at this event, sure you can find cocktails without tequila in, but to enjoy Cinco de Mayo in classic Mexican fashion you need that famous Mexican spirit: Tequila.

Whether you prefer silver, reposado or Anejo, there is a style of tequila for everyone… An important thing to remember though is that Tequila is NOT a mescal. It used to be a type of mescal but in recent years it has been awarded a form of ‘unique spirit’ award allowing tequila to be respected as a spirit in its own right (not to mention only allowed to be made in certain parts of Mexico – think back to my champagne post explaining this type of regional ‘patent’).

There are obvious choices of cocktail to try; like various flavours of ‘margarita’, or the fruity ‘Paloma’ as well as the very raw ‘Tequila Slammer’ (not to be confused with a ‘tequila shot’ – salt & lemon).

Recipes:

Classic Margarita recipe

0.75 parts – Fresh Lime Juice

1 part – Triple Sec*

1.5 parts – Good quality Silver (or Blanco) Tequila**

Shake the ingredients over ice and double strain into a fancy cocktail glass. For an ‘iced’ margarita serve in a glass filled with a heap of finely crushed ice.

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A classic Margarita cocktail.

* Don’t use Cointreau in this recipe as it distorts the clarity of the finished drink. Use a high quality clear triple sec (check out Marie Brizard or Bols/De Kuyper). If you insist on having a ‘dirty’ margarita then I recommend ‘Agave Sec’ instead of Cointreau – you have to stay Mexican after all!

** Silver (or Blanco) tequila is better for this sort of cocktail, brands such as Jose cuervo & sierra are great tequilas to use.

Link for clear triple sec:

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?text=triple+sec

Link for ‘Agave Sec’…

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=6320

There are more flavoured recipes for the margarita than I can count using a calculator not to mention actually list on this blog, so follow the link below for a great selection of flavoured margarita recipes:

http://mixthatdrink.com/49-margarita-recipes/

Keep an eye out for some more great Cinco de Mayo posts today… their on their way!

P.S. Here’s a link for a great Cinco de Mayo post by a talented blogger:

http://behindthebooze.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/cinco-de-mayo-celebrating-mexican-heritage-and-welching-the-french/