Sunday, May 30, 2010

What We're Drinking: The Last Manhattan ....

The Final Manahatan
....of the season of course! I am of the camp that believes that cocktails like food and attire is seasonal. I would not order a Rye Manhattan in the middle of July anymore than have a Thanksgiving turkey or wear a tweed blazer. This goes for Manhattan's extended family, Perfect, Little Italy, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Bensonhurst, Red Hook et al.  Sorry fellas, I'll see you in the Fall.

See, in the colder months a cocktail like the Manhattan with it's hearty rye,  fortified sweet vermouth, and bitters warms you up. It thins the blood and nourishes the soul like a harvest meal. It is the equivalent of sitting by the fireplace after a day out in the bitter cold.

I credit my grandmother Margaret for imparting me with this unwritten etiquette. Moving from heavy cocktails to light refreshing ones was her seasonal ritual. The family party pitcher of Manhattans was replaced by Gin and Tonics and Gin Rickeys at the Memorial Day BBQ. Sure this follows the "wear white shoes" until Labor Day fashion of an older time but that custom actually makes sense. In colder months you need stiff cocktails to warm you up, while in warmer months the opposite is true. Ice cold, refreshing drinks that contain a modest amount of alcohol should be imbibed. This mantra helps avoid dehydration and still gives you that zing in your white shoe step.

The seasonal transition does not necessarily have to start on Memorial Day but I follow that marker out of tradition. I look forward to the summer cocktails much like a good BBQ or beach vacation. In the same vein, I will miss the Manhattan and really enjoy the first sip of one in September because for me absence makes the heart grow fonder. I actually choose where to have my first one after Labor Day very carefully. OK, it is usually at Clover Club in Brooklyn but that is because my friend and owner Julie Reiner is a Manhattan-phile like me and her cocktails are served with that bonus dividend!!

So tonight, Sunday May 30th, I enjoyed my last Manhattan of the season.  It was lovely and warmed me up just right.  Until September old friend, when our paths shall meet again. Cin-Cin!
Last Manhattan
2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Combine over ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a frosty coupe and garnish the Luxardo maraschino cherry.

 (Photos of Fredo's Last Manhattan)


  1. Emily Post's bio is in my reading queue. Perhaps I should pass it to you when I am through... <3

  2. last manhattan. such a sad time of the year. one of my fav cocktails!

  3. An ah-ha moment. Followed by a new tradition. Bless you, caro Fredo!

  4. I cannot believe it is Labor Day already. Looking forward to having Manhattans again!!!