The Rustic Manhattan

Robert Watrous' The Rustic Manhattan Cocktail

Robert Watrous

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The sweet taste of apples and raspberries come together in the rustic Manhattan. It is a simple variation on an old favorite and a spectacular cocktail you'll definitely want to try. The beautiful fruity flavor is a nice bridge for the gap between summer and autumn, though it's wonderful year-round.

This recipe was created by Robert Watrous of San Diego, California and it is a fresh twist on the popular Manhattan. Though it was created in California, all of the ingredients are from New York. The apple whiskey from Leopold Bros. is a fantastic example of the classic flavored whiskey and the vermouth is a rare, hand-crafted raspberry-flavored vermouth from Uncouth Vermouth. Even the barrel-aged bitters come from New York State.


Steps to Make It

  1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.

  2. Garnish with a fan of apple slices and a maraschino cherry.

Anytime you're garnishing with cut apples, dip them in lemon juice immediately after slicing them. This will prevent the flesh from turning brown as it is exposed to oxygen and ensure your cocktail looks fabulous while you enjoy it.

The Whiskey

Leopold Bros. New York Apple Whiskey is one of the best apple whiskies produced today. It is made with all natural ingredients from real New York State apples and has an amazing flavor that is perfect for mixing into cocktails. It sells for around $45 for a 750ml bottle and is a 40 percent ABV (80 proof) whiskey. You can find it at a number of retailers, both online and off.

If you are looking for a substitute, proceed with caution. The flavored whiskey market is littered with whiskies that are not of the same caliber. They may either be too sweet or unnaturally flavored and more like a liqueur than a whiskey. This cocktail deserves a true apple whiskey and it would be best to avoid the likes of Jim Beam Apple in this instance.

DIY Apple Whiskey

Another option that ensures you get a great naturally flavored apple whiskey is to infuse it yourself. You can choose any whiskey you like, though it would be best with one that is smooth and not too robust so the apple flavor can shine. Good candidates would be a blended whiskey, like those from Canada, any softer bourbons, or even an Irish whiskey like Jameson.

For whiskey, red apples would be a good choice. Cut them into chunks or wedges so they fit inside your infusion container. The apple infusion should take about one week, after which you'll want to taste it to see if the flavor has reached your desired intensity. Go longer if you like, testing it again every couple days. 

The Vermouth

The vermouth used in this recipe is very specific and it's unlikely that you'll find a commercially available substitute. That said, waiting for or doing whatever you need to acquire Uncouth Vermouth Wild Raspberry is worth the wait.

It sells for around $36 for a 500ml bottle and is 18 percent ABV (36 proof). This small-batch vermouth is produced by a New York company that prides itself on fresh, local, and ethically sourced ingredients. They produce a number of other aperitifs as well and all are worth checking out, though the distribution is limited.

Again, you can make your own raspberry-infused vermouth as a substitute. The sweet taste of raspberries is perfect for a dry vermouth base and the infusion should also take about one week, though you will want to test it periodically. Be sure to use a fine strainer or double strain it to ensure you remove all the tiny seeds.

The Bitters

The last ingredient in the rustic Manhattan is the bitters. Fee Brothers makes a great line of cocktail bitters and they have some unique flavors available. The Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters used in this drink is hard to replace and would be a great bottle to add to your liquor stock anyway. Why not use this recipe as an excuse to try them out?