The Manhattan: Classic New York in a Glass N ew York is often referred to as “The City That Never Sleeps,” and when you consider that th...

The Manhattan: Classic New York in a Glass

New York is often referred to as “The City That Never Sleeps,” and when you consider that there are five famous cocktails named for each of its five boroughs, it makes a lot of sense. The Manhattan is one of the most famous of New York-named cocktails, one that is sure to add a touch of class to any evening.

The Manhattan is said to have been invented in the early 1870s at the Manhattan Club, in New York, obviously. They say Dr. Iain Marshall created it for a banquet thrown by none other than Lady Randolph Churchill. You know, Winston’s mother. It was to honor Samuel J. Tilden, a presidential candidate at the time. It was an incredibly successfully and presumably quite fun banquet which propelled the Manhattan cocktail into the limelight.

While this tale is a popular rendition of how the Manhattan cocktail become one of the most requested drinks of all time, later sources would prove that Winston’s mother was over in France during this time period, and pregnant to boot. That’s okay though because all cocktails have an air of mystery to them, and loads of stories behind them. Another popular account is that a bartender named Black invented it in the 1860s in a bar on Broadway.

Wherever it first came from, there was an early version of it from a book called The Flowing Bowl by William Schmidt in 1891. Later in 1930, in a book called Shake ‘Em Up! by V. Elliott and P. Strong, the same cocktail is called a “Tennessee Cocktail.” Would a Manhattan by any other name taste as sweet? Probably, however a taste like this could really only come from New York. Sorry Tennessee.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Manhattan cocktail but you’ve never tried it. In order to make a proper Manhattan that would please any New Yorker, you’ll need rye, sweet vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Though in the absence of rye, whiskey or bourbon can be used, but it’s truly preferred to make sure you have rye to get the flavor just right. It’s stirred, not shaken, with crushed ice and then strained into a cocktail glass, which you should chill prior too for just the right effect. The garnish is a singular Maraschino cherry.

So how does it taste? It’s bold and smooth, and if you’re a Martini-type, you really ought to give the Manhattan a taste-drive if you will. You might just find your new favorite.


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The Cocktails Portal: Manhattan
The Cocktails Portal
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