It’s hard to say when the Manhattan was first poured, however, the most common story is that it was invented during a 1870’s banquet at the Manhattan Club hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother Jennie Jerome. The party was for democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden, who didn’t win the election, but whose party drink became favorable with both democrats and republicans. People were soon ordering “the Manhattan cocktail” after the place it originated, giving the drink its name.
Other stories claim that the drink was originally mixed by a man named Black in a bar on Broadway, that it was invented at a party for Tilden but that Jerome was not involved, and that there really was no origin, that Manhattan was just another name people called a drink that mixed whiskey, bitters and sugar syrup (which was later replaced with vermouth).
Most commonly using rye whiskey as its main element, the Manhattan can also be made with Canadian and Tennessee whiskey, Scotch or bourbon. How much vermouth is added depends on the bartender, and often, bitters is not included. For many, however, the original recipe cannot and should not be diverted from – the drink is too much of a classic. Purists will often discourage any use of garnish as well, saying that the added flavor takes away from the true essence of the cocktail. However, the drink is traditionally served with a maraschino cherry.
- 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
- 2 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Highball glass
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. Strain the whiskey mixture into a highball glass.
Can also be served on the rocks.