The Manhattan

Personally, a well-made Manhattan is a cocktail I truly enjoy. It’s perfect in balance, simple and as a girl I can drink this cocktail anywhere and not feel out of place. I always forget how much I enjoy this cocktail, that first sip is like slipping into a custom-tailored dress. You remember how well it fits and how comfortable it is.

If I were behind the bar and someone asked for something different, this is what I’d offer them. It’s a great drink before a meal and would probably work just as well afterwards. It seems the barkeeps of the 1800’s had a really good grasp of what tasted good!

The roots

Often called the “King of Cocktails” or the “Drinking Man’s Cocktail,” The Manhattan is a very potent drink and one of the legendary six classic cocktails included in David Embury’s famous book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

The history of the Manhattan has a fairly convincing story behind it, only because it is so often repeated. Basically the drink was made for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchhill’s mother at the Manhattan Club in the 1870’s and it was thoroughly enjoyed and became popular.

The Manhattan is still widely regarded as one of the greatest cocktails ever created.

When properly built, the Manhattan is the only cocktail that can slug it out toe-to-toe with the martini. It’s bold and fortifying, yet as relaxing as a deep massage. J.P. Morgan used to have one at the close of each trading day. It’s that kind of drink.

“When properly built” — there’s the problem. For a real Manhattan, you need rye whiskey. No amount of fiddling with the vermouth and bitters can save this drink if you’ve got bourbon in the foundations; it’s just too sticky-sweet.

In case of emergency – if you need a Manhattan and you’re out of rye, Canadian Club will do; it’s got lots of rye in it.

The makin’s

2 parts rye whisky
1 part Italian vermouth
2 dashes Bitters — Angostura bitters

The drill
Stir the rye, vermouth 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
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don’t drop it in


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