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Savoring the Manhattan
A Journey Through the High-Rises of Flavor and Tradition

The Manhattan, a cocktail as iconic as the skyline of the city it’s named after. This classic concoction has been warming hearts and elevating spirits for over a century, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s explore the fascinating history, the craftsmanship behind the perfect Manhattan, and the myriad ways you can make this age-old recipe your own.

The Tale of the Manhattan

Like many cocktails, the Manhattan’s origin story is a bit murky, but it’s generally believed to have been created in the late 19th century in New York City. One popular tale attributes its invention to a bartender named Black, who first mixed the drink at the Manhattan Club for a party thrown by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother. While the details might be fuzzy, what’s clear is that the Manhattan quickly became a staple in bars across America and beyond.

Fun Fact: The Manhattan is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s 1948 classic “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.” It’s a testament to its enduring popularity!

The World of Manhattan Variations

The basic structure of the Manhattan makes it ripe for experimentation. For instance, you could switch out the sweet vermouth for a dry or blanc vermouth to make a “Dry Manhattan” or “Perfect Manhattan,” respectively. Feeling adventurous? Try a “Black Manhattan,” which replaces vermouth with the herbal liqueur Averna, or go for a “Cuban Manhattan” with dark rum instead of whiskey.

The Manhattan and Culinary Delights

The Manhattan pairs beautifully with a wide range of foods, from steak to chocolate desserts. Its robust flavors can complement rich, fatty dishes while its sweetness can balance out spicy foods. It’s a versatile cocktail that deserves a place at the dinner table as much as it does at the bar.

Whether you enjoy it as a pre-dinner aperitif or a cozy nightcap, the Manhattan serves as a timeless reminder of cocktail history and the infinite possibilities within a glass. So here’s to the Manhattan—a classic that invites you to explore, experiment, and most importantly, enjoy. Cheers!

Manhattan Cocktail
Calories: 179kcal
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
The Manhattan is a classic cocktail that is made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. A Perfect Manhattan is made with the addition of dry vermouth. The Manhattan is traditionally stirred and not shaken, and bitters are a key ingredient in the drink. The best whiskey to use in a Manhattan is one that you prefer the taste of, whether it's rye or bourbon.
Tips for making the perfect Manhattan: Use high-quality ingredients, stir the drink instead of shaking it, and experiment with different types of bitters and vermouth to find the perfect combination for your taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 2-3 Dashes Bitters
  • 1 Cherry

Instructions

  • Combine the vermouth, 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.
  • Served in a Cocktail Glass

Video

Estimated Nutrition:

Calories: 179kcal (9%)Carbohydrates: 3g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Potassium: 18mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 1mgIron: 1mg (6%)
CourseBeverage, Cocktail
CuisineBeverage, Cocktail

Definition of a Manhattan Cocktail:

The Manhattan is a classic cocktail that is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. It is typically served in a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry.

Brief History of the Manhattan:

The Manhattan cocktail is said to have originated in the late 1800s at a bar in New York City’s Manhattan. The exact origin of the drink is not well-documented, but it is believed to have been created by a bartender at the Manhattan Club in honor of a visit by Lady Randolph Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill.

Lets delve deeper into the Manhattan Cocktail and its recipe.

We will take a look at what makes a Perfect Manhattan, the difference between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned, whether bourbon or whiskey is used, which whiskey is best for the Manhattan, and why you don’t shake a Manhattan. We will also address some frequently asked questions.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Manhattan vs Old Fashioned

Similarities:

Both the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned are classic cocktails that are made with whiskey as the main ingredient. Both are also typically served in a chilled glass and garnished with a cherry or twist of citrus.

Differences:

The key difference between the two cocktails is the type of whiskey used. Manhattans are typically made with rye or bourbon whiskey, while Old Fashioneds are typically made with rye whiskey. Additionally, the Manhattan is made with a combination of sweet vermouth and bitters, while the Old Fashioned is made with sugar, bitters, and a splash of water or soda.

How to distinguish between the two cocktails:

The easiest way to distinguish between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned is by the ingredients used. A Manhattan will have vermouth as an ingredient and an Old Fashioned will not. Additionally, a Manhattan will typically be served in a cocktail glass, while an Old Fashioned will be served in a lowball glass. The garnish is also different, Manhattan is typically garnished with a maraschino cherry, while Old Fashioned is garnished with a twisted orange peel or a cherry.

Manhattan: Bourbon or Whiskey?

Which one is traditionally used:

Rye whiskey is traditionally used to make a Manhattan. Rye whiskey has a spicier flavor profile which complements the sweetness of the vermouth and the bitterness of the bitters. However, bourbon can also be used to make a Manhattan, and it will have a sweeter flavor profile.

Substitutions:

As mentioned, if you don’t have rye whiskey, you can use bourbon, brandy, cognac or even scotch to make a Manhattan. These substitutions will change the flavor profile of the cocktail, but it will still be a delicious drink.

Best whiskey for a Manhattan:

The best whiskey for a Manhattan is one that you prefer the taste of. Rye whiskey is traditionally used and is considered a more traditional choice, but if you prefer the taste of bourbon, it can be used as well. Some popular brands of whiskey that are commonly used in Manhattans include Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye, and Makers Mark Bourbon.

Bourbon vs Rye:

Both bourbon and rye can be used to make a Manhattan, but traditional Manhattans are typically made with rye whiskey. Rye has a spicier flavor than bourbon and is considered to be a more traditional choice for a Manhattan. Bourbon has a sweeter taste and is considered to be a more modern choice.

Recommended Brands:

Some popular brands of whiskey that are commonly used in Manhattans include Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse Rye, and Makers Mark Bourbon.

Can Jack Daniels be used?

Jack Daniels is a type of Tennessee whiskey, not a Rye or a Bourbon, it can be used in a Manhattan, but it will change the flavor profile of the cocktail and it will not be a traditional Manhattan.

Substitute for whiskey:

If you don’t have whiskey, you can use brandy, cognac or even scotch for a Manhattan. These substitutions will change the flavor profile of the cocktail, but it will still be a delicious drink.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

The Art of Making a Manhattan

Stirring vs shaking:

A Manhattan is typically stirred, not shaken. Stirring helps to evenly distribute the ingredients and to keep the ice from diluting the drink too quickly. Shaking can make the drink too watery and can also cause the ice to break into small pieces, which can change the texture of the drink.

Bitters:

Bitters are a key ingredient in a Manhattan and are used to add a bitter flavor to the drink. Angostura bitters are the most commonly used bitters in a Manhattan. They are a type of aromatic bitters made from a blend of herbs, spices, and other botanicals.

Vermouth:

Vermouth is a fortified wine that is used in a Manhattan to add sweetness and complexity to the drink. Sweet vermouth is the most commonly used vermouth in a Manhattan.

Simple syrup:

Simple syrup is a sweetener that is used in a Manhattan to balance out the bitterness of the bitters and the dryness of the vermouth. It’s made by mixing sugar and water together and it can be used in place of vermouth for a sweeter Manhattan.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe