Dave Arnold and Don Lee, the cocktail masterminds behind Existing Conditions in Greenwich Village, like their Manhattans between 21.2 and 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can’t get to that specific level of frostiness by stirring liquor with ice: Your cocktail would be far too watery before it dipped anywhere near that temperature. Pre-mixing batches of the bar’s rye-forward Manhattan in bottles and stashing them in a precisely calibrated cooler allows Arnold and Lee to separate chilling from dilution, resulting in a perfect drink every time.Lee notes, “Making a bottled cocktail is great for dinner party planning, too, because it lets you do the work ahead of time.” No more stirring drinks at the last minute or fussing with ice and strainers; when your guests arrive, you can spend time being a good host rather than a frazzled bartender. A swing-top bottle will work perfectly (or use a clean, one-liter, plastic seltzer bottle). Store the prepped drink in your freezer until about an hour before serving, then move it to your fridge for a flawless, effortless pour.

Dave Arnold
Don Lee
February 2019


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary test

5 mins
9 hrs 5 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together whiskey, 1 cup water, vermouth, and bitters in a large spouted measuring cup. Pour mixture into a freezer-safe glass bottle or container; secure lid. Freeze at least overnight or up to 1 month. Move to refrigerator 1 hour before serving.

  • To serve, pour about 1/2 cup whiskey mixture into each of 6 cocktail glasses. Garnish with orange peel twists and maraschino cherries.