Tag Archives: Manhattan

Whiskey Places – Cadillac Ranch National Harbor

Our first stop of our trip was the Cadillac Ranch. We were walking along Fleet Street and their menu looked the best compared to the nearby options of Public House and the Brass Tap.

We had a full meal, and multiple drinks at Cadillac Ranch. Our favorite item was on the appetizer list as they had some amazing taco choices. We also had fried pickles and the tater tots with everything.

We originally thought we’d just get some appetizers and then order some entrees but once the apps got there we realized there was more than enough food for all four of us.

As we ate and caught up, we tried a bunch of different drinks.

My first drink at Cadillac Ranch was the Blue Suede Shoes made with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and black cherry purée:

I took a sip through the straw and my blood sugar spiked so high I almost didn’t take a separate sip. My son (he’s an adult) sipped from the edge of the glass and said it wasn’t too sweet, which made me realize it wasn’t mixed yet. I’m honestly not sure if that was on purpose or not, but after I stirred it I was able to drink it – but it was still too sweet for me. Just remember that I don’t really like Old Fashioned for the same reason though, they are just too sweet and I can’t appreciate the whiskey when there is too much sugar.

My second drink was a Blood Orange Bourbon sour made with Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and Finest Call Blood Orange Sour. I wanted to try it, but I’m not a hug van of sweet and sour, and this was very sweet, and moderately sour. Yes, I drank it, but I wouldn’t order it again.

My son’s girlfriend (all adults) got a Black Cherry Rye Cola but she’s not a fan of whiskey and let the rest of us finish it off for her. For me, it was very much lick a Jack and Coke, and I honestly wouldn’t waste good whiskey in Pepsi.

I tried to order the Sazerac Soda with Redemption Rye Whiskey, simple syrup, Absinthe, and soda water, but they were out of Absinthe so I went with a classic Craig Small Batch Bourbon Manhattan for my final drink of the night:

This Craig Small Batch Bourbon Manhattan was the perfect way to end the night. It is a classic bourbon in a drink that lets the bourbon really shine.

Overall we had a lot of fun at Cadillac Ranch. The staff were friendly, incredibly attentive even though it was crazy busy, and the food was really tasty.

Cadillac Ranch is coming in the Moderate Cost Per Person range, but its the National Harbor and everything is pretty expensive, so keep that in mind. I’m giving them an overall 70/00, mostly driven by the fact that most of the bourbon drinks I tried were just a bit too sweet for me.

PlaceLocationScorePrice Scale
Cadillac Ranch National Harbor70/100Moderate

Cost Scale

Up to $30 per person – Low Cost

$31 to $50 per person – Moderate Cost

$51 and above per person – High Cost

WHISKEY DREAMS – Stillhouse Black Bourbon MANHATTAN

Stillhouse Black Bourbon scored a 61/100 after I recently re-reviewed it with a good bit more Whiskey Dreams knowledge under my belt. So now that Stillhouse Black Bourbon is in Mixed Drink Only territory, how does it stand up as a Manhattan?

The nose on this Stillhouse Black Bourbon Manhattan is all sweet fruity vermouth. Whatever nose the Stillhouse had is completely overwhelmed by the vermouth.

This Stillhouse Black Bourbon makes an odd Manhattan. At first I didn’t like how the astringency mixed with the sweetness of the vermouth, and it leaves an odd lingering taste on my mid tongue, but the more I sipped it, the less it bothered me – but that was probably the alcohol. I really struggled with whether this was a 51, making it Sip Worthy, or if it was a 50, making it Just Bad.

At the end of they day I’m going to settle on 50/100, making this Just Bad. My main reason being that I’d rather drink this whiskey straight than make a Manhattan with it, even if its not perfect there either.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – MANHATTAN Death’s Door

I ranked Death’s Door whiskey as a 68/100 as a straight sipper, but at $40 a bottle for me (Northeast United States) there are better options for two twenties – so I was curious how it would do as a Manhattan.

The good news is that a bit of vermouth did take off the rough edges of this Death’s Door whiskey.

The bad news is that at over $40 a bottle, there are just better options out there, meaning this only improved by e a few points as a mixer. A Death’s Door Manhattan scored a 74/100.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Blade And Bow MANHATTAN

This Blade And Bow scored a 48/100 as a a sipper, which relegated it to the Mixed Drinks Only category. Which means I wasn’t super excited about what a Manhattan would do for this Blade And Bow whiskey. I find that a Manhattan can soften some rough edges, but usually results in a 10 or 15 point increase (max) to the base whiskey.

The makers of Blade And Bow might not have been super happy with my score as a “straight sipper”, but hopefully they will be a little more pleased with what their bourbon can do as a mixer, especially for a Manhattan.

I used my normal two to one formula, mixing two parts whiskey with one part vermouth, then adding in a few drops of Orange Bitters, and this Blade And Bow really shone through.

My issue with Blade And Bow as a straight sipper was the soft sweet opening and the hardness on the swallow  that was kind of a punch in the face. The good news is that the vermouth really evens this out, turning this jarring sip into something much smoother. The vermouth takes that rough finish and just smooths everything out in quite a lovely way. So much so, that this is the all time biggest increase when comparing a whiskey to its Mixed Drinks Only pairing.

This Blade And Bow Manhattan scored an all time high 90/100 (as of 3/17/2021). If you love a good Manhattan, this is a must try. This just might might help me justify spending $50 on another bottle – which is crazy for a mixer right? But still, it’s that good in a Manhattan.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Agitator MANHATTAN

I used my standard recipe for a Manhattan, mixing bourbon to vermouth in a 2 to 1 ratio.

I tried this Agitator Manhattan with, and without Orange Bitters.

Agitator Manhattan

I was thinking the red wine finish on this Agitator bourbon would pair well with vermouth and make an amazing Manhattan.

Boy, was I wrong. What I was hoping would become a nice pairing of red wine and vermouth, turned out to clash, and badly.

I’m giving this Agitator Manhattan a 49/100, put it in Just Bad territory.

Pros

  • If you like cheap whiskey with strong red wine notes, this might be for you.

Cons:

  • The red wine finish from the Agitator clashes with the vermouth.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Fistfull of BOURBON MANHATTAN

I was a little disappointed in Fistful of Bourbon as a sipper. It scored a 53/100 when ranked against other sipping options. You can read the full review here.

What do I do with bourbon that isn’t sip worthy? I make Manhattans of course.

If you can find or buy this online at the $25 price point, this is a great bottle to make mixed drinks. The Vermouth and Orange Bitters takes this rough edged bourbon and turns it into a smooth, tasty, Manhattan.

I feel like I got ripped off as I payed $40 bucks for my bottle of Fistful of Bourbon. At $25 this would be a great bottle for mixed drinks like a Manhattan.

A Fistful of Bourbon Manhattan scored an 80/100, and mixes into Sip Worthy Manhattan.

Pros

  • Makes a tasty Manhattan.
  • Benefits from the sweetness of the Vermouth.

Cons:

  • I would not pick up another bottle of Fistful of Bourbon unless I can find it at the $25 price point.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Wild Turkey MANHATTAN

I gave straight Wild Turkey a score of 63/100 so I was curious how it would rank when mixed into a Manhattan.

I used my normal formula to start.

  • 2 Ounces Bourbon
  • 1 Ounce Sweet Vermouth

After I finished my first Manhattan I remade my drink but added in two drops of Orange Bitters. This Wild Turkey really benefited from the Orange Bitters, giving it a little more complexity where it was flat.

Overall this is what I’d call a classic mixer. It’s not out of this world, but its very sippable and its a perfect drink for parties and gatherings when you want to save the “Good Stuff” for those who will appreciate it.

A Wild Turkey Manhattan ranks 73/100.

Wild Turkey Manhattan

Pros

  • Affordable way to make lots of mixed drinks.
  • Great option for parties and gatherings of people who like Whiskey, but don’t Love Whiskey.

Cons:

  • If you don’t like toasted marshmallows, this may not be for you.
  • Very simple taste profile.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Maker’s Mark MANHATTAN

I hate Mondays. Why am I saying that on a Sunday? Because I decided to have one more aperitif before bed, and decided I might as well make a Manhattan.

Straight Maker’s Mark ranked 60/100, putting it into the Mixed Drinks only category. How does it fair as a Manhattan? The sweetness of the vermouth brings out that subtle sweetness in the Maker’s Mark and highlights a sweet cherry note, which I really enjoy.

This Maker’s Mark Manhattan scored a 65/100, making it a Sip Worthy mixed drink.

BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Manhattan REDEMPTION

If you remember my original review of Redemption Bourbon, you know that I didn’t really find it to be all that enjoyable. It scored a 40/100, putting it in the Mixed Drinks Only category, and now its time to make a Manhattan out of it.

This bottle of Redemption was sitting on a shelf for a while, and my wife gets mad at me for having too many bottles, so I figured I better polish it off, no matter how much I didn’t like it the first time around.

Thankfully, the vermouth did its magic and smoothed out a lot of the rough edges and harsh flavors the whiskey has when sipped straight, bringing it up to a 53/100.

Pros

  • Smooths out most of the rough edges the straight bourbon had.
  • The sweetness of the vermouth mixes with the hard edges of the Redemption and turns it into a nice mixed drink.

Cons:

  • Even with the vermouth, this Manhattan has a little bit of burn going down the throat.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan

WHISKEY DREAMS – Bulleit Bourbon MANHATTAN

I ranked this Bulleit Bourbon a 56/100, but even then, I had a suspicion it would make a good Manhattan. There is something about rye bourbons that make for a good Manhattan, and this as no different.

Shaken with some ice, and using the standard two to one mixture, this gained 13 points, and ranks at a 69/100. If you like a sweet Manhattan, this is just what the doctor ordered.

Pros

  • Makes a nice Manhattan at an affordable price.
  • Tastes like a dessert.

Cons:

  • Maybe just a little too sweet to drink more than one or two.
BottleScorePriceType
Manhattan - Blade And Bow90$55 / 750mlManhattan
Old Fashioned On The Rocks Knob Creek83$13 / 750mlOld Fashioned
Manhattan - Fistful of Bourbon80$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Four Roses Small Batch76$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Legent75$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan-Death's Door74$40 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Wild Turkey73$35 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Bulleit Bourbon69$28 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Dogfish Head Alternate Takes69$55/ 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Knob Creek Small Batch69$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Elija Craig Small Batch66$27 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - Redemption Bourbon53$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Stillhouse50$25 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan Agitator49$30 / 750mlManhattan
Manhattan - American XXX Born35$26 / 750mlManhattan