• MxMo XCVII Cocktail: The Perfectly Perfect Manhattan

    perfect4Time again for Mixology Monday! Let’s get right to the booze. This month’s theme is from our fearless leader, Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut is “I’ll Take Manhattan”. Thanks again to Fred for hosting…here is the breakdown:

    mxmologoTurning to David Wondrich’s Imbibe! for some historical reference, he bandied back and forth about possible creators and locales for this classic’s creation. Perhaps it was created many places and many times, for sweet vermouth was the new hot ingredient of the 1870s and 1880s as St. Germain was in 2007 and 2008 (and arguably even to today). Wondrich quoted from the anonymously penned 1898 Cocktails: How To Make Them, “The addition of Vermouth was the first move toward the blending of cocktails.” In my mind, the Manhattan takes the Old Fashioned one step further. Not only does it replace the sugar with sweet vermouth, but this sweetener ties its herbal notes to those of the bitters and its spice notes to the barrel-aged whiskey (especially rye whiskey) as well as the bitters again. Furthermore, the addition of a hint of fruit and caramel flavoring is a welcome addition to the mix (I will not directly draw any link to the vermouth’s fruit and the cherry garnish though). While there have been a variety of Manhattan variations through the years such as the Preakness and the Brooklyn, most of the twentieth century saw this drink unchanged, in theory that is… However, the last decade or so has seen a renewal in the drink begin made correctly. Moreover, I would point to New York City cerca 2005 as the re-birth of the Manhattan variation with drinks like the Red Hook being born. For this theme, actuate it any way you’d like as long as the drink resembles a Manhattan. Want to take 19th century Manhattan recipes or variations to the test? …Or perhaps subbing out the whiskey or vermouth for another ingredient or adding in a liqueur or other modifier or so to the mix? Awesome, you’re right on track! There are plenty of Manhattan and Manhattan variations out there in the literature, and theres plenty of room to explore and tinker if that’s your thing, too.

    Great theme. The only bummer for us is that we would easily choose the Brooklyn, one of our favorite cocktails, but also one we have blogged about (one of our most popular posts, in fact) and is already in the announcement post. Happily, the Brooklyn itself is a riff on another classic Manhattan variant, the “Perfect Manhattan”.

    perfectperfect1perfect2So what makes it “perfect”? Basically, the Perfect Manhattan adds dry vermouth along with sweet vermouth of the classic Manhattan. And when you use rye whiskey for your Manhattans (and we do prefer rye), the herbal flavors of the dry vermouth lighten the overall taste of the cocktail and compliment the rye’s “spicy” notes. Adding both a dash of Angostura and Orange bitters gives you citrus notes and a dry edge to the finish. Overall, the Perfect Manhattan is the “right” Manhattan to try if you find the classic version a bit heavy and sweet. (It is much less of a “brown drink” as Carolyn would say.)

    The other “perfect” thing about the Perfect Manhattan is that if you like cocktails at all, the recipe uses ingredients that you should have. Rittenhouse rye, sweet and dry vermouth, Angostura bitters and orange bitters are all staples of a good home cocktail “bar”. So if you don’t have any of these ingredients, now is the time to get them!

    perfect3As for the vermouth, you can go with M&R or Dolin for sweet, but we prefer the bolder flavors of Cocchi Vermouth di Torino or Carpano Antica. As for dry vermouth, we strongly recommend Dolin and its smooth, herbal flavors.

    perfect5Finally, we suggest you garnish with good quality maraschino cherries, either homemade or Luxardo will do nicely. Nothing makes a Perfect Manhattan more perfect than a few cherries…

    The Perfectly Perfect Manhattan:


    • 2 oz. rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
    • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi)
    • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
    • Angostura bitters
    • Regan’s Orange Bitters
    • Maraschino cherries, for garnish (Luxardo)


    1. Place all the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Garnish with 1 or 2 cherries. Serve.

  • Kohlrabi Slaw With Herb And Avocado Dressing

    kohlWhen we started this blog a few years ago we chose the simple title of “Putney Farm”. And since we have this big garden (we fancy it a “farm”) and we are the Putneys, it made some sense- even if it lacked imagination. But since then, sometimes we wonder if we should have titled the blog “We grew this stuff, now what do we do it”? (And at times the blog could also be titled “You bought this random bottle of booze, now mix it with other hooch and hope for the best….”)

    kohl1You see, the problem with gardening is that most of the food comes all at once. You want kale…we got KALE, by the bucket. Pornographic zucchini? Oh yes…more than we can possibly give away (nothing ruins friendships quicker than trying to give away bags of zucchini…we apologize in advance). And there is a touch of pathos hearing your kids say, “please, please, no more eggplant”.

    kohl2So when you walk into our kitchen and see dozens of vegetable-centric cookbooks we have a good reason. We need recipes that truly work and that you can eat multiple times without making you hate whatever vegetable is filling your garden. Happily, we do seem to find recipes that we can all live with, and such is the case with this recipe for our newest vegetable, kohlrabi.

    kohl3kohl4What’s kohlrabi? Well, it’s a funky looking root/tuber/turnip thing that tastes like cabbage. In fact, it is often called a “cabbage turnip”. It is also popular in Germany (any notes on kohlrabi always say that, so we will too). So what do you do a crunchy veggie that tastes like cabbage? Make slaw, of course. And we just happened to find an excellent recipe in Deborah Madison’s book Vegetable Literacy.

    kohl5kohl6The recipe itself starts as a basic slaw, with a creamy, vinegar-tinged base. But the addition of avocado brings a rich, smooth counterbalance to the crispy kohlrabi and the fresh herbs add bright flavors and aromas. Good stuff. And still good after many servings. We used this as a side dish for roast chicken, but also as a topping for hot dogs (awesome, btw). This slaw goes with just about anything, and that is a very good thing, since we still have a few dozen kohlrabi in the fridge….. Continue reading