Or, a contest of flavors. Never underestimate your palate’s capability to discern more.
The Manhattan is a simple cocktail. Two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, a couple dashes of bitters. A classic.
Turn up the volume. Let’s say the whiskey must be rye, with all of the bold spiciness it imparts. And let’s say the vermouth must be something that elbows its way onto your palate no matter what it’s mixed with, no matter the ratio: Carpano Antica Formula.
Now tweak the bitters. One dash Angostura aromatic tying the whiskey and vermouth together, one dash orange to play with the whiskey. Rye is sharp vs. the corn sweetness of bourbon, so add one dash cherry bark vanilla bitters to give back a mild sweetness.
Now stir. No shaker needed, only a mixing glass, a bar spoon and a fistful of ice. Keep the back of the spoon on the inside of the glass and circulate the liquids among the ice until the cubes soften. Say, twenty back-and-forth rotations. Sample with a cocktail straw - this is a “stirred and boozy” cocktail, it should taste just so. Expect a jungle of flavors, none overwhelming the others.
Serve up, with a Bing cherry garnish. Sublime.