The Catcher In The Rye… Whiskey : Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

A classic whiskey cocktail, the Manhattan is easy to make, low in carbs, and feels fancy without being complicated.

I am beyond excited to start this new Summer 2018 blog series- The Bon Appeteach “Book Club”. There is NO reading in “book club”, just DRINKS named after books.

This summer, I am starting the series off with inspiration from classic novels and sharing classic cocktail recipes. I felt that by starting with the classics, it would be a great way to  build a solid foundation for this series.

If this is something you all enjoy, then maybe I will make it an annual summer tradition with different themes. If you want to read more about why I am calling it the Bon Appeteach “Book Club”, check out the original post to get a better understanding of its origin.

For the five of you (hey Mom…) that have been following along both here and on Instagram, then I hope you are as excited as I am to start the first week off with a bang (And I don’t mean the kind that causes a serious hangover. Please drink responsibly and only if you are over 21).

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

“The Catcher In The Rye”, by J.D Salinger, was a novel I remember reading my freshman year of high school. Other than knowing I read it 14 years ago, I cannot tell you more than that. I have to be honest, my old lady brain had to brush up on the cliff notes version of this book.

So let me paint a picture for you, so you can understand why I chose the Classic Manhattan Cocktail for this week’s “book club”.  The main protagonist (Holden Caulfield) starts this story off in a mental institution and tells a tale of a two day period where he left his private school for a few days of adventure in Manhattan.

Several things happen to Holden as he takes his journey through New York City, including adventuring out to Radio City Music Hall. The story goes through a series of issues (coming of age and all that jazz), which I will definitely not analyze for you because I am not an English teacher. So, as the title has the word “Rye” in it and it takes place in Manhattan, how could I not create this cocktail based off of this book? So, let’s get to what you’re really here for….

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

The Classic Manhattan Cocktail:

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters
  • REAL Maraschino Cherries (I prefer Luxardo)

Stirred, Not Shaken:

This cocktail is short and simple to make. Using a jigger, measure out 2 oz. of rye whiskey. Rye whiskey is different that bourbon whiskey in flavor and taste. It is a bit spicier and more savory compared to bourbon which is sweeter.

Pour this over ice. Add 1 oz of vermouth and very carefully add two dashes of the chocolate bitters. Now typically, regular bitters is used but I took a tip from Andrew (my in house bar tender/ partner in crime) and went with the chocolate bitters.

Once all of this is added and poured over ice, stir it thoroughly to chill and slightly dilute the ice cube. Use a julep strainer to prevent the ice from being added and carefully pour the contents into your glass (I prefer a coupe glass because I find them classic and timeless…just like this drink). 

The real key to a delicious and Classic Manhattan Cocktail is the REAL maraschino cherry. These are not cheap, and by not cheap I mean they are really expensive.

But they are incredible, and if you enjoy classic cocktails I find the investment totally worth it! Place your cherry on a toothpick or small metal skewer and place it into your glass. Be sure to double the recipe and make another for a friend, because I am a firm believer in never drinking alone!

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

Food Pairings:

So, I obviously have to mention food before I go. You can go a few different directions with this Classic Manhattan Cocktail recipe. Because I used chocolate bitters, a plate of dark chocolate, orange slices, and maybe a softer cheese would go nicely.

If you are looking for something a little more substantial, I adore these steak and blue cheese crostinis. Blue cheese is really strong so I put about 1/4 cup of blue cheese and 2 tbsp. of sour cream into a food processor to blend it a bit. I cooked two smaller New York Strip steaks (because Holden Caulfield went to New York City…duh) on my grill and sliced them thin.

Toast small slices of French bread and assemble each with a layer of blue cheese, steak, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Garnish with chives to add color.

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

To make this keto and low carb friendly, I omit the bread or swap the bread with my easy keto focaccia bread recipe, and place the steak bites onto toothpicks, drizzle the whipped blue cheese mixture over the steak, and add the balsamic and chives as well.I like steak with the rye whiskey because the spicier notes pair really well with the flavors of the meat.

Plus, it’s steak. Who doesn’t love steak in the keto world?

Classic Manhattan Cocktail

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of the Bon Appeteach “Book Club”. Be sure to check my Instagram page for more on how I made this Classic Manhattan Cocktail tonight and later in my highlights section! Cheers to you, your upcoming weekend, and a summer of classic cocktails!

Bon Appeteach,


Classic Manhattan Cocktail

The Classic Manhattan

A classic whiskey cocktail, the Manhattan is easy to make, low in carbs, and feels fancy without being complicated.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 190kcal
Author: Bon Appeteach


  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Vermouth


  • Place some ice in a mixing glass or cocktail pitcher.
  • Then, use a jigger to measure the whiskey and vermouth and pour
    each into the pitcher over the ice.
  • Add two dashes of the bitters and stir for a good 45 seconds to
    dilute the ice a bit and chill the drink.
  • Carefully, use a julep strainer to hold the ice as you pour the
    drink into a coupe glass (preferred).
  • Top with a real maraschino cherry (optional orange peel because
    it looks pretty).


Serving: 1g | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 345mg | Sugar: 4g

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