When I first started drinking Manhattans, I found them a hair too sweet. So I would ask bartenders to mix them with a little less sweet vermouth than normal. Finally a bartender at the hole-in-the-wall Bramble Bar & Lounge in Edinburgh, Scotland, told me that what I wanted was a “Perfect Manhattan.” I thought, “That’s cute. Yes, it is perfect, in my opinion.” Once he realized that I didn’t know what he was talking about, he explained that a Perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, instead of all sweet. How appropriate: My perfect Manhattan really is Perfect.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, preferably Carpano Antica Formula
1/2 ounce dry vermouth, preferably Dolin
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry
Place a 5-ounce coupe or cocktail glass in the freezer until chilled, at least 5 minutes.
Fill a pint glass or cocktail mixer two-thirds of the way with ice. Add rye, both vermouths, and bitters and stir vigorously with a cocktail spoon until chilled, about 30 seconds. Remove the coupe from the freezer, place the cherry inside, and strain the drink into the glass.