I was out to dinner this week at a nice upscale restaurant. I sat down and started to decompress from my day and decided I wanted to order a classic Manhattan cocktail to start my dining experience. I was so glad I did. It was great and relaxing, and I enjoyed each sip. It set the pace and the mood for a great dinner that followed.

My good friend Denis Gallagher turned me on to Crown Royal Manhattans. We had enjoyed them at one of his favorite steakhouses and now one of my favorites Halls Chophouse located in Charleston, South Carolina. We now have them we he comes to New Jersey. I savor the classic Manhattan for special occasions, but in sharing full transparency I find that I enjoy them a little more in the fall and winter months to warm the soul as they say.


The cherries must be perfect. Turns out Hall’s Steakhouse and other fine restaurants here in New Jersey use Luxardo Italian maraschino cherries, which I like three of them in my cocktail. The smoothness of the Crown Royal with the addition of the bitters, the sweetness of the Vermouth, and the cherries make it a terrific cocktail before you enjoy a great dinner. It wakes up the taste buds.

My friend, Hall of fame bartender, Tom Young, gave me a great suggestion to make my Manhattan experience more enjoyable. He suggested I get a crystal glass shaker that is kept in the freezer with a martini glass that will be used to make the Manhattan cocktail. The thick crystal glass will hold the cold and make any Manhattan cocktail just as chilled as your first drink.

Bring back the classic Manhattan to your pre-dinner repertoire. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks Denis and Tom for making it a perfect Manhattan.


How do I make a great Manhattan cocktail ?

1 1/2 an ounce of Crown Royal whiskey

1/2 an ounce of Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes of Aromatic Bitters

1 drop of Cherry juice

Shake all the ingredients together

Serve in a chilled glass

Add 3 Luxardo Cherries into glass

Put your whiskey into your chilled cocktail shaker. Add the Vermouth, Bitters, cherry juice. Shake until it's as cold as you can get it. Strain into a chilled glass. Add your three Luxardo cherries into a glass and enjoy!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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