- The cocktail is often stirred and strained into a cocktail glass, where it is garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem.
- A Manhattan can also be served on the rocks in a lowball glass.
- The whiskey-based Manhattan is one of five cocktails named for one of New York City’s five boroughs, but is perhaps most closely related to the Brooklyn cocktail, a mix utilizing dry vermouth and Maraschino liqueur in place of the Manhattan’s sweet vermouth, as well as Amer Picon in place of the Manhattan’s traditional bitters.
Here’s the Trivia!
- Popular history suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated—”the Manhattan cocktail”. However, Lady Randolph was in France at the time and pregnant, so the story is likely a fiction.
- However, there are prior references to various similar cocktail recipes called “Manhattan” and served in the Manhattan area. By one account it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street.
- The original “Manhattan cocktail” was a mix of “American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura bitters”. During Prohibition (1920–1933) Canadian whisky was primarily used because it was available.
- An early record of the cocktail can be found in William Schmidt’s “The Flowing Bowl”, published in 1891. In it, he details a drink containing 2 dashes of gum (gomme syrup), 2 dashes of bitters, 1 dash of absinthe, 2/3 portion of whiskey and 1/3 portion of vermouth.
- The same cocktail appears listed as a “Tennessee Cocktail” in Shake ’em Up! by V. Elliott and P. Strong, copyright 1930 (p. 39): “Two parts of whiskey, one part of Italian Vermouth and a dash of bitters poured over ice and stirred vigorously.” – (Source -Wikipedia)
How to make it!
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 dash Angostura® bitters
1 maraschino cherry
1 twist orange peel
For the Lowball – Serve over ice!
Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters with 2 – 3 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don’t bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don’t drop it in.
VARIATION: No bitters. Substitute a twist of lime for the cherry and orange. Hold the lime twist in a lighted match over the drink and then drop it in. The heat really zips up the lime flavor.