How to Make a Smoky Manhattan?

by Thousand Oaks Barrel Co.

To make a Smoky Manhattan whiskey cocktail you can try using a smoky whiskey, like a peaty whisky from Islay in Scotland, or use a Foghat Cocktail Smoker.

The Manhattan is one of the world's classic whiskey cocktails, with an interesting if uncertain history [insert link] behind it. It's a drink that's been around for over 150 years, so it's clearly here to stay. When you've tried a few slight variations on the classic recipe (bourbon instead of rye whiskey, say), you might want to take the recipe to the next level and try to make a Smoky Manhattan.

How to Make a Smoky Manhattan the Easy Way

There may be a classic recipe for the Manhattan (5 cl rye, 2 cl sweet red vermouth, dash of Angostura bitters) but there's no classic recipe for the Smoky Manhattan as it can be made in several different ways.

One way to make a Smoky Manhattan is quite easy. Instead of rye whiskey, use a smoky whiskey. And the easiest way to do that is choose a whisky from the island of Islay in Scotland, whose distilleries are noted for their smoky and peaty aromas and flavors. You're spoiled for choice. Try Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, or an Ardbeg - the Ardbeg Wee Beastie is one we really enjoyed recently.

If you're not a fan of peaty scotches, then you could perhaps try a 50/50 mix of scotch and bourbon to tone down the smoky nature of the Manhattan. It's also a good way to slowly acquire a taste for peaty drinks, as these are, after all, amongst some of the greatest whiskies made. It's a shame to miss out on enjoying them because you've taken one sip of a really peaty whisky and didn't like it. It can be an acquired taste but it's a taste well worth acquiring.

Making a Smoky Manhattan Another Way

There are other ways to adapt the basic recipe to provide you with a smoky cocktail. You could add a dash of paprika or chipotle powder for that smoky taste - but don't go wild! If you look around online you can also find chipotle bitters, which you could use instead of the Angostura bitters.

Then, although it's no longer strictly a Manhattan, you could substitute the smoky Mexican spirit mezcal for the rye whiskey. You'd have something you might call a Mexihattan.

The Best Way to Make a Smoky Manhattan

One final way to make a Smoky Manhattan is arguably the most authentic way, as you still use the original classic recipe. None of your nit-picking friends can argue and say, 'Well it's not really a Manhattan.

Take the original recipe given above, and scale it up for however many drinks you want to make. Put all the ingredients in one suitably-sized glass, and mix them thoroughly. Use a Foghat Cocktail Smoker to infuse the Manhattan with smoke. Try the Whiskey Barrel Oak Smoking Fuel, or go for broke and use the Peat Bog Fog for a truly smoky result.

Let the glass rest for three minutes. Swirl the cocktail around again with a cocktail spoon to thoroughly mix the ingredients, including the smoke. Pour over ice in a cocktail glass or a lowball glass. Savor the aromas and sip. Now that's the best way to make a Smoky Manhattan!

by Mike Gerrard