Food and Manhattan Cocktail Pairings

 In Pairings & Parties, Vya

Looking for food ideas that’ll pair perfectly with your favorite Manhattan cocktails? The cocktail itself is creative and complex; full of spice, smoke, and honeyed vanilla notes. The Manhattan nicely complements with sweet, spicy, and bold flavored dishes. Whiskey absorbs fat and “washes the palate,” which makes this cocktail delish with rich, fatty foods. In the spirit of finer dining, dare to be creative with your Manhattan pairings; after all the cocktail itself was an innovation of its time! Below are a few fun pairing ideas to get you started.

Chicken and Waffles

Fried chicken over waffles with syrup and pecans.

Just like the Manhattan cocktail, there are many theories on the origin of Chicken and Waffles. One of the most common theories is that it was invented at Wells Supper Club in 1930s Harlem, but it is more likely that the recipe has evolved over time from a dish originally served up during the 1600s in the south. Regardless of who and when it was created, this dish has grown in American culture to be just as classic as a Manhattan. And we can surely understand why! Chicken and Waffles is quite the dynamic duo, a perfect union of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, maple and hot sauce. Pair that with a Manhattan and you have a complex match made in heaven. The spice and honey in whiskey complement the fried chicken while the baking spices in Vya Sweet Vermouth elevate the waffles and maple syrup, making for an exciting matchup.


Fried Chicken Recipe
2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
½ cup Louisiana hot sauce
¼ cup water
Garlic powder
2 ½ lbs chicken pieces, bone in, skin on
5 pints peanut oil for deep-frying (try coconut oil for a healhty substitute)

Waffles Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups warm low-fat milk (use dairy-free milk to make kosher)
¼ cup melted butter (use margarine to make kosher)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Maple syrup, butter, hot sauce
6-quart heavy bottomed pot mixing bowls, waffle iron, paper towels
Mixing bowls
Waffle iron
Large sealable bag
Paper towels


Fried Chicken

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, water, and hot sauce together. Pour into a resealable plastic bag.

Add the chicken pieces, coat,  squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 8 hours.

In another medium bowl, combine the self-rising flour and 1 tsp black pepper.

Remove chicken from the plastic bag and sprinkle the pieces generously with salt, then lightly with garlic powder.

Coat the chicken  with flour mixture

Fill a deep pot halfway with oil. Heat on medium heat until 350 degrees (measure with a candy thermometer).

Carefully submerge the pieces of chicken into the hot oil. Fry for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy and cooked through.

Place fried chicken on paper towels to drain off excess oil.


Preheat your waffle iron.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the lukewarm milk, butter and vanilla till well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir will batter forms. A few small lumps are okay.

Pour the batter onto your waffle iron in batches. Amount per waffle will vary according to the size of your waffle iron. Let the waffles cook until golden brown and crisp.

Serve hot waffles with warm fried chicken, warmed maple syrup, and butter on the side.

Optional Kosher Modifications: Substitute almond or soy milk for buttermilk, use a non-hydrogenated butter substitute (like Earth Balance) to replace the butter

Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled pork BBQ Jackfruit Vegan Sandwich on a plate with a glass of wine in the background.

You can enjoy Manhattan pairings even with a vegan diet!  Young jackfruit is a great alternative to chicken or pork. It has a fairly neutral taste so it takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with.  Its consistency is stringy, making it perfect as a pulled pork alternative. BBQ sauce is bold and spicy with a maple-like sweetness that makes an interesting pairing with the nicely spiced edge of a rye whiskey-based Manhattan.

Shredded jack fruit in a bowl next to onions, sprouts and cabbage.


2 ½ cups young jackfruit

Barbecue Sauce
2 cups tomato puree
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
Dash of liquid smoke


To make the barbecue sauce, add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium-low. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, sea salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk until well combined.Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.Drain and rinse jackfruit if using canned. Place jackfruit on a cutting board and cut out the core. Using your fingers or two forks, shred the jackfruit into a bowl.Add barbecue sauce to the bowl of jackfruit and stir. Stir until jackfruit is completely coated.Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1tablespoon safflower oil. Add jackfruit and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Serve BBQ jackfruit pulled pork on a bun with desired toppings. Enjoy!

Fig Arugula Flatbread

Baked fig and arugula flat bread cut into pieces.

Flatbreads are easy to make and mouthwatering. The warm and sweet flavors of fig, creamy goat cheeses and the sharpness of arugula make this flatbread the perfect pairing for a Manhattan.  The baking spices in Vya Sweet Vermouth pair particularly well with the cooked figs, creating a melody of savory sweet spice with each sip.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
14 ounces store-bought fresh pizza dough
6 figs, thinly sliced crosswise, divided
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup loosely packed arugula


Preheat oven to 450°F. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium. Add red onion and 1/4 teaspoon each of the kosher salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until tender, 2 minutes. Roll pizza dough into a 1/4-inch-thick, 17- x 11-inch rectangle. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Top evenly with cooked onions, one-third of the fig slices, and cheese. Bake until crust is lightly browned and done, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Top flatbread with remaining figs, arugula, and balsamic reduction.

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