To Shaking Things Up

For last year's words belong to last year's languageAnd next year's words await another voice. -- T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Manhattan, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches by Sarah Atlee Manhattan, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches by Sarah Atlee

Happy New Year everybody!

Although we typically toast the New Year with champagne, allow me to suggest the classic Manhattan cocktail as a festive alternative.

How to make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail

The basic Manhattan is very simple:

3 oz bourbon 1.5 oz sweet vermouth dash of bitters

Pour over ice, stir and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and/or orange twist.

Manhattan Tips & Variations

Like any classic, this recipe is infinitely adaptable. I'm certainly not a purist when it comes to tweaking traditions.

For a dryer Manhattan (my preference), use rye rather than bourbon, skimp on the sweet vermouth, add an extra dash of bitters, and skip the cherry. Or at least use a good cherry, if you can get them.

A very Dry Manhattan uses dry vermouth rather than sweet. A Perfect Manhattan uses 50/50 dry & sweet vermouth.

Stirred v. shaken: Personally, I like a shaken cocktail, even when it's de rigeur to stir (as with a mixture that's all spirits and no juice or cream). I like the extra ice fragments and don't mind if things get watered down just a tad. It's a personal choice.

As far as glassware goes, any pretty stemware will complement this colorful quaff. Some prefer their Manhattan served on the rocks, like an Old Fashioned. Again, adapt to taste.

Don't forget that garnish! If you don't have the fancy cherries on hand, an ordinary orange will do nicely. Peel off 1-2 inches of the orange's skin (not the pith), hold it over the glass, and crease it longways to release those aromatic oils. Swipe it around the rim of the glass before dropping it in. (Nice how-to video here.) Using orange bitters rather than Angostura enhances this wonderful citrus aroma.

See Manhattan in Person

Manhattan will be available for purchase in February 2015 at Ro2 Art in Dallas. Join us at For Real featuring Sarah Atlee and James Zamora. Contact Ro2 Art for more details.

UPDATE: For Real has been reviewed by Jenny Block for The Huffington Post! Read the full review here: "A Hyperrealism That Questions Reality With James Zamora and Sarah Atlee at RO2 Art"

What are you shaking up this year?

Let us know in the comments below.