A Manhattan is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Commonly used whiskeys include rye (the traditional choice), Canadian whisky, bourbon, blended whiskey and Tennessee whiskey. The cocktail is often stirred and strained into a cocktail glass, where it is garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem. A Manhattan is also frequently 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.
The Manhattan is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
Origin and history
How to Make a Classic Manhattan Cocktail, by Jim Meehan - Excerpt from the "Speakeasy Cocktails" iPad book app. Learn more at: http://oapub.co/8b3444d1 This classic manhattan recipe and stirring technique is taught ...
A 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, Winston's mother) 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 originatedâ""the Manhattan cocktail". However, Lady Randolph was in France at the time and pregnant, so the story is likely a fiction.
The original "Manhattan cocktail" was a mix of "American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura bitters". During Prohibition (1920â"1933) Canadian whisky was primarily used because it was available.
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.
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.Â 39): "Two parts of whiskey, one part of Italian Vermouth and a dash of bitters poured over ice and stirred vigorously."
On the small North Frisian island of FÃ¶hr, the Manhattan cocktail is a standard drink at almost every cafe restaurant, and "get together" of locals. The story goes, that many of the people of FÃ¶hr immigrated to Manhattan during deep sea fishing trips, took a liking to the drink, and brought it back to FÃ¶hr with them. The drink is usually mixed 1 part (the 'perfect' is said to be half white/half red) vermouth to 2 parts whiskey, with a dash of bitters, served ice cold, in an ice cold glass, or with ice and a cherry garnish.
There is a mistaken belief that Manhattans are always stirred and never shaken, primarily to avoid persistent foaming. However such foaming now indicates either dirty equipment or less than premium quality ingredients. Traditions for both preparations go back to the late 1800s.
Traditional views insist that a Manhattan be made with American rye whiskey. However, more often than not, it is made with bourbon or Canadian whisky. The Manhattan is subject to considerable variation and innovation, and is often a way for the best bartenders to show off their creativity. Some shake the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker instead of stirring it, creating a froth on the surface of the drink. Angostura are the classic bitters, but orange bitters, Peychaud's Bitters, may be used, or the Manhattan can be made without any bitters at all; using Fernet-Branca yields what is called a Fanciulli cocktail. Some make their own bitters and syrups, substitute comparable digestifs in place of vermouth, specialize in local or rare whiskeys, or use other exotic ingredients. A lemon peel may be used as garnish. Some add juice from the cherry jar or Maraschino liqueur to the cocktail for additional sweetness and color.
Originally, bitters were considered an integral part of any cocktail, as the ingredient that differentiated a cocktail from a sling. Over time, those definitions of cocktail and sling have become archaic, as sling has fallen out of general use (other than in certain drink names), and cocktail can mean any drink that resembles a martini, or simply any mixed drink.
The following are other variations on the classic Manhattan:
- A Rob Roy is made with Scotch whisky.
- A Dry Manhattan is made with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth and served with a twist.
- A Perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
- A Brandy Manhattan is made with Brandy instead of whiskey and is very popular in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- A Metropolitan is similar to a brandy Manhattan, but with a 3-to-1 ratio of brandy to vermouth.
- A Cuban Manhattan is a Perfect Manhattan with dark rum as its principal ingredient.
- A Tijuana Manhattan is made with an Anejo Tequila.
- The Fourth Regiment is a classic (ca. 1889) cocktail that uses a 1/1 ratio of whiskey and vermouth, and uses three dashes of three different bitters - orange bitters, celery bitters, and Peychaud's Bitters.