Should You Shake Or Stir A Manhattan Cocktail? We Asked Celeb Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim - Exclusive

Had it not been for James Bond, the debate over whether a classic martini should be shaken or stirred might never have been ingrained in the psyches of both film and cocktail enthusiasts. Alas, this tipple with its glamorous history will always be linked with the drinking habits of Agent 007. In contrast, the equally esteemed Manhattan doesn't receive as much front-page coverage regarding its preparation method. Yet, if there's anyone qualified to offer an opinion on which method produces a superior Manhattan, it's the spirits pioneer and expert mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim.

Food Republic recently spoke with Abou-Ganim at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine and Food Fest's Jerk Jam event to glean his insights on the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters cocktail, often garnished with a cherry. His guidance was straightforward: "Stir it," he advised. "And use those Tony Abou-Ganim chicory pecan bitters. That takes it to another level," he added, referring to his bitters brand, TAG.

Abou-Ganim also emphasized that personal preference reigns supreme in creating the perfect drink. "I always tell people, drink what you like to drink. If you want to shake your Manhattan, shake it. I mean, who am I to say you're doing it wrong? Obviously I want people to understand why. Yes. But ultimately, you're the one that's ordering the drink, drinking the drink, paying for the drink, enjoying the drink. You should have it the way you like to drink it."

Manhattan's are widely appreciated

Part of the appeal of the Manhattan is its status as a polished, uncomplicated drink among cocktail connoisseurs, yet it's also appreciated by those who may not enjoy sipping straight liquor. A Manhattan allows you to enjoy the taste of whiskey while it's mellowed by the sweetness of the vermouth. The bitters add depth and interest, varying with the type you use. On his website, Modern Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim demonstrates making his Manhattan with a two-to-one ratio of rye whiskey to sweet vermouth, adding a couple of dashes of bitters. He combines these ingredients in an ice-filled mixing beaker, stirring the cocktail exactly 20 times to the right and 20 times to the left before straining it into a glass and garnishing with two cherries.

It's also perfectly acceptable to order a Manhattan on the rocks, or served over ice. Just be aware that the size and shape of the ice cubes will greatly affect your drink; smaller pieces melt quickly and dilute the drink, while a larger cube chills it with minimal dilution. Rye whiskey is the classic choice for a consistently good Manhattan, but Scotch can be substituted to make a Rob Roy. However, it's advisable to avoid bourbon, as it doesn't yield the best Manhattan.