Best Manhattan (the Cocktail) (2008)

P.J. Clarke's

How difficult can it be? A dash or two of Angostura bitters, an ounce of Martini & Rossi and two of rye whiskey. Stir with cracked ice, strain, and plop in the cherry. And yet, a proper manhattan is almost impossible to find, even in the very borough of its birth. The real problem lies in the whiskey: Rye, once the native firewater of the Mid-Atlantic states, is almost extinct. Not even P.J. Clarke's—where Ray Milland kicked off his lost weekend with six shots of "straight rye . . . on a cash basis"—can scare up a bottle. Most bartenders will use bourbon, but that's like making key lime pie with oranges. Without the musky bite of rye, the drink's just too damn sweet. But Grange Hall has the straight stuff, and they know what to do with it.


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