Patrick's Blood Orange Rye Manhattan Recipe

It's Wednesday, which means that you made it through half the work week. It's time to celebrate hump day with a classy mixed drink. The orange bitters in this recipe gives the drink a nice sweet & citric twist. The Manhattan tastes bold, smooth, and relaxing, almost like a gentle but deep massage. You may find some Manhattan recipes made with bourbon but rye is the traditional component used.

Once consumed it will make you feel like there's no worry in the world. It's the kind of drink that will make you feel really, really, good. I swear, I won't steer you the wrong way :). Having my own personal bartender (aka husband) is a wonderful thing - and he doesn't charge extra when I need the drink to be a little bit stronger. 


Patrick's Blood Orange Rye Manhattan Recipe

Serves 2 people


  • 4 oz rye whiskey (we use Rittenhouse 100 proof)
  • 2 oz sweet vermouth (we use Carpano Antica)
  • 6 dashes blood orange bitters
  • 4 homemade brandied cherries (or store bought)  


Combine rye, vermouth, and bitters in a shaker glass with a handful of ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a rocks glass with a few cubes. Garnish with a couple cherries.


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Old Grand Dad 114 (1986), Very Old Fitzgerald (1958), & Sherwood Rye (Pre-1919) - Bourbon Tasting Notes

Patrick loves bourbon and is a part of a few bourbon communities. Over the weekend, we met up with one of his bourbon buddies for the first time, along with his wife at their home in Napa, to pick up a bottle of Old Grand Dad 114 from 1986.  We had a nice time getting to know them and found out that we had a lot of commonalities. 

They were so nice to have us over and to give us the opportunity to taste a few very rare & valuable bourbon bottles. Here are some of our thoughts:  

  1. Old Grand Dad 114 (1986) - Lot 13: We both loved the 114. Patrick describes the nose as burnt orange, flower, and honey. I say the nose smells like caramel and molasses. It has fairly medium heat but doesn't drink as hot as one would expect for a 114 proof. Patrick says comparing it to a current release of 114, the current release drinks hotter for him. It has a nice butterscotch, orange and caramel taste with a great concentrated flavor. It finishes with a taste of dry wood. 
  2. Very Old Fitzgerald (1958): This wheater bourbon was made at Stitzel Weller back when Pappy van Winkle was still at the helm. While it didn't blow my mind, I thought it was nice, smooth and easy to drink. 
  3. Sherwood Rye (Pre-1919):   This pre-prohibition Sherwood rye was advertised for medicinal uses (not pictured as it was in a normal glass decanter). I thought it was mellow, drinkable and had subtle hints of orange. Patrick was surprised that it still had a bright rye flavor. 

Overall, it was great meeting a couple that takes up similar interests to ours (food & booze) and it was super cool of them to offer us a taste of their bourbon.  Here are some photos of the bottles: 

By the way, Happy Bourbon Heritage Month!  


The bottle we picked up: Old Grand Dad 114 (1986) - Lot 13.

The bottle we picked up: Old Grand Dad 114 (1986) - Lot 13.

Old Grand Dad 114 (1986) - Lot 1 & Very Old Fitzgerald  (1958)

Old Grand Dad 114 (1986) - Lot 1 & Very Old Fitzgerald  (1958)

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Homemade Brandied Cherries Recipe

Patrick and I had a great manhattan at Balboa Cafe in the Marina District, San Francisco two months ago and what made it special was their in-house brandied cherries. The cherries they had were delicious, refreshing, and just the right amount of sweetness. Patrick found this great recipe online and he made a jar with brandy and a jar with bourbon. Both jars turned out fantastic and up to par in comparison to Balboa Cafe!  

If you are trying to figure out the best way to preserve cherries, definitely consider this option. Here's Patrick's version of the brandied cherries:  

Brandied Cherries

Patrick's Homemade Brandied Cherries

Recipe adapted from ErichPryde's on

1 lb cherries (pitted - I highly recommend this great cherry pitter on Amazon)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 dashes vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cup brandy

2 regular mason jars


Combine the brandy, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon juice, and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat and boil just until until the sugar dissolves. Add the cherries and cook for a minute or two. Let the cherries cool briefly, then pour it into a mason jar. Let it age in the fridge for at least a week.

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