Cranberry bitters is seriously red. Color is a fun part of the cocktail hobby and it's good to find a less sweet red alternative to grenadine. Otherwise, I wouldn't say the bitters bring a whole lot of flavor - sweet smelling but bitter to taste, not unlike actually cranberries, I suppose. Still, it's not as strong as some of the other fruity bitters we have tried.
Bitters Battles: Angostura vs. Peychaud's
At last, we come to the final ingredient battle in our quest to build the ideal Manhattan. Both Angostura and Peychaud's are gentian-based, though the former hits me with cinnamon hints, the latter with anise. Let the testing begin...
Manhattan Battle #1: a tie
My wife couldn't say she disliked either and I had to agree. This came as a bit of a surprise. I saw Angostura as the clear favorite going in. How about some of each?
Manhattan Battle #2: Angostura vs. Half Ang, Half Pey
For this test, I had to up my usual quantity to four dashes rather than three in order to achieve an even split. This time we both agreed.
Manhattan Battle #3: Peychaud's vs. Half Ang, Half Pey
It seemed only fair to try this one, too.
There must be a winner. None of this "see what you're in the mood for" stuff will do. So, I argued for a slight edge to the Angostura. Same consideration as with the orange: the Angostura simply has more flavor and that's a big part of what makes a Manhattan interesting. My wife agreed. And so...
Winner and Still Champion: Angostura
It's good to have a winner. It's also good to know we have acceptable alternatives.
Interesting to note, this is the only one of the three ingredient battles where our original stand-by won out.
Here's our Manhattan all-star line up:
Ezra Brooks Rye
Boissiere Sweet Vermouth
Someday, we may play around with the cherries but we're thoroughly in love with our current brand.