A Manhattan cocktail is a mixed-base drink made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
While rye is the traditional whiskey of choice, other commonly used whiskies include Canadian whisky, bourbon, blended whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey. The Manhattan is usually stirred, then strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry.
Manhattan Cocktail History
The exact origin story of the cocktail is lost in time. The most popular theory is that the recipe was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall in the early 1880s for a party by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's mother. This is false and got debunked due to lady Churchill not having this party.
It’s no question that the drink emerged in the early 1880s. The earliest known written mention of this cocktail was published in September 1882 by the Sunday Morning Herald in Olean, New York. In this article, the ingredients (whiskey, vermouth, and bitters) and even the name of the drink were mentioned.
The first detailed recipe of the Manhattan cocktail was printed 2 years later, in 1884. This was featured in O.H. Byron’s book called “The Modern Bartenders Guide.”
I have made a rum version of the manhattan if you rather have something more traditional!
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- 40 ml Whiskey (Bourbon)
- 20 ml Vermouth (Rosso)
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Add everything to a mixing glass.
- Add some ice.
- Stir it for 45 seconds so it gets a little diluted and cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.