The Manhattan appears to have originated in the mid to late 1800’s, like most cocktails there are largely apocryphal stories about it’s origins. There are references to many similar cocktails about this time, but it is claimed that it was popularised at a banquet held by Lady Randolph Churchill at The Manhattan Club in the early 1870s.
Regardless of it’s actual origins a Manhattan is a delicious, strong, whiskey based cocktail that frankly isn’t sold in enough places.
Traditionally made with rye whisky it is most often now made with bourbon, such as Jack Daniels. Manhattans are on the evening cocktail menu at Olives where we hold the Sip and Shop, and on Sunday we drank them entirely dry of Jack Daniels, oops!
Made with Scotch whisky the drink is known as a Rob Roy, which is often what I make at home as it’s the whisky I most often have in the house.
The proportions of a Manhattan are 2 parts whisky to 1 part sweet vermouth (told you it was strong!), made with dry vermouth it’s a dry Manhattan, and with half and half sweet and dry as a “perfect” Manhattan.
Traditionally garnished with a cocktail cherry. I like to add a dash of the cherry juice for a little extra sweetness. At A Marvellous Cocktail Party our Manhattans were made with black cherries marinated in syrup and black pepper. Delicious.
Thus ends my ode to the Manhattan. I shall leave you with the recipe for a classic Manhattan, should you want to make yourself one at home.
Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Stir vigourously (or shake, which creates a slight froth). Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.