See, the word perfect takes on a different meaning when you're talking cocktails. It refers directly to the vermouth in the recipe, and has no bearing whatsoever on how wonderful the drink happens to be.
This phenomenon rears its head most notably in the Rob Roy and the Manhattan. Order the drinks with no descriptors, and a good bartender will make them with sweet vermouth. Order a Dry Rob Roy, or a Dry Manhattan, and the bartender should reach for the bottle of dry vermouth, instead. And if you call for a Perfect Rob Roy or Perfect Manhattan, equal amounts of both vermouths should be employed in the drink.
The whisky in a Rob Roy is Scotch, by the way. A Manhattan contains rye whiskey, although the rye often gets substituted with Bourbon or even Canadian whisky (hmph). Note the different spellings: American and Irish — whiskey; Scotch and Canadian — whisky.
Ted's variation on the Perfect Manhattan adds Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. I've never had this, but Regan calls it “dry, nutty, and peppery.” Sounds good! The recipe calls for rinsing the glass with the liqueur:
Take the glass in which you're going to serve the Manhattan Perfecto (hopefully it's chilled) add the half-ounce of maraschino, then tilt the glass so the liqueur coats it from lip to stem, and rotate it slowly until the entire interior is coated with the maraschino. Now discard the excess liqueur, give the contents of the mixing glass a quick extra stir, and strain the drink into the glass.
Here's the full recipe in all its glory:
The Manhattan Perfecto
Fill a mixing glass two-thirds full of ice and add the whiskey, both vermouths, and the bitters. Stir for approximately 20 seconds, pause to rinse a chilled cocktail glass with the maraschino (see above), then strain the drink into the rinsed glass. Add the garnishes.
- 2 ounces straight rye whiskey (Ted recommends Michter's, Van Winkle 13 year old, or Old Overholt. Gary Regan suggests Sazerac Rye.)
- 3/4 ounce Dry Vermouth
- 3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, to rinse the glass
- 1 lemon twist, as garnish
- 1 maraschino cherry, as garnish
Mmm, I'm parched.