My lovely wife got me an incredible book on bitters and cocktails in general by Brad Thomas Parsons called, fittingly, Bitters. There is tons of information in the book on the origin of bitters, how to make your own bitters (something I am looking forward to), as well as a number of classic cocktail recipes. The one I have been particularly taken by recently is that of the Manhattan which I used to think was overly sweet, but now realize that the original, as in many things, is far better and more balanced.
The Manhattan cocktail was invented in the 1860s, which was a long time ago, but to put that into perspective the American Civil War ended in 1865 and the union consisted of 37 states at the end of the 1860s. Somehow, the people of North Frisia (a group of islands near Germany) became big fans of the cocktail transcending the animosities of both WWI and WWII.
- 2 ounces rye (an awesome song about this ingredient performed live at one of my favorite radio stations)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- garnish of amarena cherries (these things are incredible)
- Add all but the garnish to a cup of ice and stir to comibine
- Strain into a coupe glass