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A Classic Manhattan Served with Mushroom Paté

Classic Manhattan and Mushroom Pate

by Creative Culinary on January 27, 2012

I was recently inspired by something that wasn’t. My cousin had sent me a box of artifacts from my Uncle Ed and Aunt Pat’s estates. They had both passed away last year after a long and good life together and my cousin thought I might want some of their things.

Included in the box of treasures I received was one very sad, very broken glass. Broken beyond repair but not beyond glimpsing what it would have looked like. It was dissimilar to any of my current glasses so I started searching for something similar and discovered it was most likely a ‘champagne coupe.’ Fancied at one time for champagne, it has a wider and shallower bowl than a wine glass and was unlike anything else in my relatively comprehensive stock of glassware. Of course, losing that glass made me want one all the more and in my search for a replacement, I found one of the early uses was for serving Manhattans. The perfect opportunity was almost at hand to feature this storied cocktail for The Friday Cocktail. A cocktail from times gone by when men were men and didn’t mind drinking from a daintier glass!

I searched high and low; I went online and found some by Kate Spade, she of the overpriced designer category, and others by Waterford, still overpriced but a name that I would more proudly attribute to my stemware. I finally found the perfect reasonably priced glasses by Libbey (remember, I just wanted them for a couple of photos) but I was not interested in an entire case. Drat!! Finally, feeling a bit desperate, I decided to contact my favorite restaurant and see if they had one I could borrow.  I can not deny that once I get it in my head that I want something done a certain way I am most definitely a woman on a mission!

I called YaYa’s in the Denver Tech Center, a restaurant located nearby. I consider YaYa’s my own personal Cheers where ‘almost’ everyone knows my name. When I talked to Scott, the manager, he said they didn’t have any in the restaurant but he thought he had some at home packed away. His own family artifacts that he didn’t want to get rid of but also didn’t use (haven’t we all been there?). Scott offered to check and let me know. The following morning his email was like a gift, he had found his cache and would drop off a package at YaYa’s for me to pickup. Tell me, how many restaurant managers will do that for you? YaYa’s will always fix mussels the way I like them no matter what the current menu offering is and I love that but this was over and beyond. So… many thanks Scott. What? I can keep the glasses too? All FOUR of them? I already thought you the best and now my readers know why.

The Manhattan is an elegant cocktail with a rich history; some of it fabricated to lend more glory to its name but all leading to it originating in Manhattan, one of the five Burroughs of New York City. By all accounts it originated in the later part of the 19th century and has seen a resurgence often attributed to the popularity of ‘Mad Men‘ – a television show that chronicles the lives and social mores of the 1960′s in America. I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan. Let’s just say that my parents both enjoyed a Manhattan. They were a part of that 60′s generation that drank too much and partied too hard; there were affairs and a divorce and in a real soap opera twist; a re-marriage. By them. To each other. Watching that play out on the small screen hit a bit too close to home so I’ve kept my distance from the show as much as I’ve kept my distance from a Manhattan all these many years.

While I never expect my decision on the television series to wane, I was convinced to give a Manhattan a try at a recent cocktail party. Not wanting to appear rude (I mean I will eat dreaded green pepper if necessary to not upset a host and I HATE green pepper), I acquiesced and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Well, it’s about a fabulous drink, that’s what it’s about!

This is no lightweight drink. Recognizing that my taste in wine has segued from Boone’s Farm to a nice Cabernet over the years, I’m quite certain that if someone had introduced me to this cocktail those many years ago; it would have been received less than favorably. This is booze, pure and simple. Despite some controversy over where it began, one area without controversy is the continued popularity of the drink. It is still considered one of the finest cocktails ever conceived and on every bars list of best cocktails.

Purists (who are these people anyhow?!!) presume that the only way to create a Manhattan is with Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters but there are those who cry sacrilege if not using Dry Vermouth. Most concede that Rye Whiskey is the liquor of choice but bartender choices run the gamut from Bourbon to Rye to Canadian Whiskey. For me it has to be Rye but I’m more forgiving with the Vermouth depending on tastes, personally preferring Sweet Vermouth. Bitters are seeing a huge boon in popularity right now and the choices are endless but this is a Manhattan and Angostura bitters are a must. Sometimes something is so good that you simply don’t need to mess with success.

If the Manhattan is considered one of the finest cocktails ever conceived it deserves a great appetizer. While I enjoy a traditional pate too, I decided to pair the cocktail this time with a Mushroom Paté; my take on an appetizer that I could imagine being served with a Manhattan all those many years ago when it first gained notoriety. It’s rich and decadent but also something that would appeal to all of my friends including the vegetarians among them.

I’ve been making this paté for a very long time…or at least one like it. This is the first time I’ve ever considered actually writing down the ingredients that I use. I first had it served at a party I attended a decade ago and all I could get from the hostess was that it was a combination of sautéed mushrooms and cream cheese so I’m sure I’m made a revision to it each and every time I’ve put it together but I must say, I think this was the best. Maybe it was that extra clove of garlic?

It’s easy to prepare and can be held in the refrigerator overnight so it’s a great appetizer if you want to make something ahead of time. I actually think it’s best if given some time for the flavors to meld so try this next time you’re having a get together and want to make it easier for you…anything you can make a day ahead is a bonus.

A Classic Manhattan
  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • ½ oz sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish (I’ve used my own version which are a combination of sour cherries and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
  1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Stir well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with the cherries.
Mushroom Paté
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A savory pate made using mushrooms and sherry.
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 12-16 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 stalks green onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Medium Dry or Dry Sherry
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1tsp fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parsley for garnish
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the green onion, garlic and Sherry and saute for 3-4 more minutes til the garlic is cooked but not browned.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Put herbs, cream cheese and mushroom mixture into food processor and pulse gently until mixed thoroughly but not completely smooth.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Pack into 2 serving crocks and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and service with crackers or toast points. With a Manhattan!

 Be sure to visit ‘The Daily Basics’ for my article on the Classic Manhattan


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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Passante May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

I scanned the comments but no one seems to have asked this question (if they did and I missed it, sorry for being redundant): What kind of sherry — very dry, dry, or medium? I am assuming not sweet or cream sherry. I imagine dry Marsala would also be good in this recipe.


2 Creative Culinary May 21, 2012 at 10:28 am

That was a very good question! I had to look at the bottle and only in the description do they say ‘Moderately Dry’ so I’ve changed the recipe to say Medium Dry or Dry Sherry; I think either would be fine. Thanks!


3 Jeanne @ CookSister! February 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

Well done on the writing gig! And I am loving this paté. Usually I never get further than my beloved chicken liver or smoked mackerel paté, but this looks easy and really tempting!
Jeanne @ CookSister! Most Recent Post: Chicken breasts in a mushroom marsala sauce with roasted beets


4 Cookin' Canuck January 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Congratulations on your new writing gig, Barb! I’d happily sit myself down in front of this mushroom pate and eat it all night long. Washed down with a Manhattan, I think I’d be in heaven!
Cookin’ Canuck Most Recent Post: Healthy Lasagne Recipe with Turkey, Pesto & Peppers


5 Creative Culinary January 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Thank you Dara; I just need an extra weekend now in my schedule. :) They are both so elegant and decadent; both separately and together. Preferably together.


6 Amanda January 30, 2012 at 9:46 am

Lovely recipe, thanks Barbara. I’ve been returning to some of the recipes I used to use some years back and making my own pates and terrines are among them. With the power in modern processors these days it is so much easier to do this – a far cry from pushing stuff through sieves, which is how I did it in my poorer days!
Amanda Most Recent Post: Snowed in, in Seattle


7 Creative Culinary January 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I think that would have stopped me Amanda but I’m sort of thinking I want to try a more complicated terrine one of these days and yes, thankful for some modern equipment.


8 Sanjeeta kk January 30, 2012 at 4:35 am

Congratulations for your new work, looking forward to read your posts there. Love the first click, looks like a perfect party starters!
Sanjeeta kk Most Recent Post: Honey Oatmeal Peasant Boule – A Filling and Delightful Bake


9 Creative Culinary January 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

Thank you Sanjeeta; I’m hoping it’s the perfect partnership!


10 Daisy@Nevertoosweet January 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Amazing photos! But I don’t think i’ve had Mushroom pate before ~ would love to try sometime soon hehe
Daisy@Nevertoosweet Most Recent Post: Birthday Celebrations in HK


11 Creative Culinary January 30, 2012 at 3:59 am

Thank you Daily…my photo work is always ‘in progress’ and your kind remark is a nice reward. Do try the pate, easy and delicious.


12 Johnny West January 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Am going to to make the Manhattan tonight but am using High West Bourye single batch whiskey from Park City, Antikka Ricetta Vermouth from italy and Peychaud’s bitters. The cherries are marinading in Herring cherry liqueur. Cant’ wait!




13 Creative Culinary January 30, 2012 at 3:58 am

Now that is some drink…why whiskey instead of rye?


14 Johnny West January 30, 2012 at 4:19 am

Bourye – it’s what I have.


15 Creative Culinary January 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

Ah…it’s blended with Rye. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bourbon/rye blend…and now want to try it…thanks for sharing.


16 Faye January 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I have glasses very similar to those that I inherited from my grandmother. I never thought to serve Manhattans in them, even though that is one of my favorite cocktails. The mushroom pate is a must try- my husband is a mushroom fiend, and would love this!


17 Creative Culinary January 30, 2012 at 3:56 am

Well, I guess I’ve now inherited them from someone’s grandmother even if not my own! I love them and it is how they were originally served; over the years they became relegated to a lowball glass. I think I like the old way better. So elegant.


18 Terra January 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

Since I am such a mushroom lover, this pate sounds AMAZING!!! Love your glasses, my Dad is a huge lover of Manhattans. I will have to show him your post:-) Congrats on contributing for The Daily Basics, how exciting! Hugs, Terra
Terra Most Recent Post: Vegan Lemon Pecan Muffins


19 Creative Culinary January 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

You are so sweet Tara; thank you for the kind comments. You should surprise your Dad sometime with homemade Maraschino cherries. They are amazing!


20 Lisa January 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I made a chilied mushroom pate by Susan Feniger a few years back, and it was pretty great. However, without even tasting yours, I know I’ll like it better because it contains one of my favorite things in the world – cream cheese. That said, your Manhattans look so elegant..the beautiful photo of them makes me feel like I’m in an elegant restaurant or small club in, well..Manhattan – light jazz playing in the background. ;)
Lisa Most Recent Post: Cinnamon Goo Biscuits and Bad Boy Love Part Two, Postponed


21 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I love you. That is EXACTLY the ambiance I was going for. The cream cheese is more than just a binder that’s all I’m saying. :)


22 Brian @ A Thought For Food January 28, 2012 at 6:45 am

My mom always did a mushroom pate at dinner parties and now I’m going to have to start that tradition. I had forgotten about it until I saw your recipe. This looks marvelous and I can’t wait to get sippin’ on one of those Manhattans!

And congrats on the new gig!
Brian @ A Thought For Food Most Recent Post: {Recipe: Homemade Granola}


23 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

Obviously the perfect pate for you isn’t it…I thought of you as I wrote ‘my vegetarian friends.’


24 Maris (In Good Taste) January 28, 2012 at 3:50 am

Congratulations on a well deserved new job! You will be awesome. This recipe looks so delicious and I cannot wait to make them
Maris (In Good Taste) Most Recent Post: Never Enough Time [Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Santa Fe]


25 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you Maris…it’s pretty much the perfect fit for me. Funny, I don’t put a lot of appetizers on my blog…but I love them. This will help change that!


26 Mrs.Flescher January 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Wow! Congratulations! I will definitely be following your articles, and can’t wait to try the mushroom pate. Sounds delightful!
Mrs.Flescher Most Recent Post: Red, White and Black & Last Chance Giveaway


27 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:19 am

Yay…and nice to meet you. Hope you do try it; it’s simple and pretty perfect if you ask me. Or if you had watched me try not to devour a whole bowl of it. :)


28 Lora ~ cakeduchess January 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

The glasses are so pretty. The drink, the pâté…I’m craving a little of both right now. So excited that you are now writing for The Daily Basics. Congratulations.:) I look forward to reading all the upcoming posts.
Lora ~ cakeduchess Most Recent Post: Guava Jam Coffee Cake


29 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

The glasses were a job to get but the reward was so very worth it. You, me, drinks?


30 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

First, Barb – congratulations on your new gig with Daily Basics! You were the perfect choice for an apps and cocktail contributor. What a story of finding just the right glass for your Manhattan! And what a guy, the restaurant manager, to help you out like he did.

I already have this pate on my weekend cooking list. Just can’t wait to try it. All my most favorite flavors in one lovely appetizer. Yum.
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Turnip Green Dip


31 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

Only thing missing from you and that pate is me. Gosh I wish it was easier for us to transport ourselves to meet our favorite people.


32 Catwoman January 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Wow that looks awesome! I wish I ever had a meal like this, with the same serving…


33 Paula January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I do love all your posts but your Happy Hour Fridays are quickly becoming my favorite. You always do such lovely write ups on the drinks and your photos are fabulous. Ron’s drink has been the Manhattan for years and the only bitters he ever uses is Angustura. He prefers his with the Sweet Vermouth and he would love your mushroom pate…with or without a Manhattan!


34 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

I love doing them too Paula…there are never-ending resources for recipes and I’ve been loving the ones with a history.


35 Sara @ Saucy Dipper January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I love the Daily Basics. What a great match for you. And those glasses are fantastic. Glad you found them.
Sara @ Saucy Dipper Most Recent Post: Tortilla Chip Alternative. Putting the Endive to the Test.


36 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thanks Sara; we thought so too! I will forever be indebted to Scott; we’ll have to make it to YaYa’s one day.


37 Jamie January 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

Oh, Barb, yay for you! Now more reason to prepare cocktails! And what goes better than a cocktail than an appetizer!! Yum, like a mini meal. LOVE this simple but wonderfully flavored pâté! I must bookmark this for when next we have people over!
Jamie Most Recent Post: ENDIVE, LARDONS & CANCOILLOTTE GRATIN with a Peasant Boule


38 Creative Culinary January 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

It is simply wonderful…and truth be told I had simply forgotten about it. Don’t you love those rediscovered treasures?


39 Nancy@acommunaltable January 27, 2012 at 9:17 am

Barb this is fantastic! I loved reading the story over at Daily Basic – and BTW Congratulations!!! The story, the cocktail the pate – a complete and total HOME RUN!!!
Have yet to see Mad Men – my parents were in the Martini crowd -faithfully had one every night!
Have bookmarked that Mushroom Pate – I think it will be making it’s appearance at my next appetizer get together!


40 Karen Harris January 27, 2012 at 7:15 am

Lovely story, lovely recipes. This mushroom pate is a must for my niece when she arrives here.
Karen Harris Most Recent Post: An English Chip Shop Favorite: Mushy Peas


41 Creative Culinary January 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

I love that I’ve been forced by circumstance to recall something that I like so much. I forgot how good it was!


42 Marianne Hertel January 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

Your mushroom and cream cheese pate sounds delicious! I wanted to add it to my recipe box but I didn’t see how to access it.


43 Creative Culinary January 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

I’m working on adding the feature to allow users to add their recipe to a Ziplist recipe box now. Hoping to have it completed over the weekend. Soon!


44 SMITH BITES January 27, 2012 at 5:23 am

Yes indeedy THIS is how you start the weekend Barb . . . and CONGRATS on your new gig!! Beautiful stemware btw . . . Have just started a collection myself after my trip to OR last fall!!


45 Creative Culinary January 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

Isn’t it lovely Deb? Even more lovely is the trouble someone went to for me so that I would have it; that’s the most special part of this particular adventure for me.


46 Rosa January 27, 2012 at 4:18 am

Heavenly! Both the drink and pate look very tempting. A great way of starting the weekend.




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