Well.. there's not much riding going on. I've been re-fitting a bathroom up to Mrs. Rouleur's specs. By the time I'm done the damn thing is going to be too nice to take a crap in. You probably think I'm joking but I'm not, I'll post pictures. Working on trim and whatnot right now, the slow part of the job that takes a week. Spectacular tile job, new plumbing, squaring up crooked old walls as best as possible with sheetrock & mud work, that's all done. And the weather mostly blows and I've been mostly off the bike with still-purple knees. I'll be back on the bike this week. But meanwhile...
I was wondering, what's the ultimate, mainstream whisky cocktail? There's a lot of good ones out there. So I'm going to have a Steel Cage, Lockdown, World Championship Rumble/Deathmatch for the next 5 days. I'm going to pit two whisky cocktails against each other every day and see who comes out on top, other than my internist who will be treating my cirrhosis in a couple years.
Tonight... It's the Manhattan versus the Algonquin.
Those of you who know me know that I love the Manhattan. Somebody told me a while back that it was a granny drink... this is true if your granny is Charles Bukowski's girlfriend.
The Manhattan is a simple drink - two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, a dash of Angostura Bitters, shaken over ice, served with a couple maraschino cherries and a dash of cherry juice. I am partial to it with Maker's Mark if I want it real sweet, or with Rye for a slightly dry-er drink.
I made it with Jim Beam Rye tonight, which is roughly 81% better than standard Jim Beam.
To keep things equal, I made the Algonquin with the same rye, and with the same brand of vermouth.
The Algonquin comprises two parts whiskey (or whisky, your call) to one part dry vermouth, one part pineapple juice, and a cherry can be added for a trace of sweetness.
How'd they do?
Well, if it was a hot day, high humidity, and the Manhattan was made with Makers or some other sweet, heavy bourbon, the Algonquin would have stood a chance. It is a dry drink, not a heavy dry like a martini but light, like champagne, but with a mule's kick. It goes down easy; you could serve this as a mini-shot at a party. Like the denizens of the Round Table at it's namesake, the Algonquin Hotel, it would be a perfect drink for silver-tongued bon vivants, as quick to throw down a cocktail as they are to toss off a bon mot.
Alas, it didn't stand a chance against the heavyweight champ, the Manhattan. Leaned down with a good rye, the Manhattan was sweet but a little astringent, and it packed a hell of a wallop (perhaps because it was the second drink, and I was using a 3 ounce measure from atop my stainless cocktail shaker).
So that didn't take long... Manhattan by a knockout, though I'd recommend keeping the Algonquin handy for a hot day, or for guests preferring a slightly lighter flavored drink.
Plus two drinks that you, the readers, nominate in the next few days. Gotta have whisky or whiskey in them and not be repulsive to me.