Manhattan

The Manhattan is one of the “Six Basic Drinks” as espoused by David A Embury in his 1948 encyclopedia of drinking, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. As a lawyer turned dipsologist, it appears Embury was on to something.

A popular but highly unlikely story (although one I wish dearly to be true) claims that the Manhattan was invented for Winston Churchill’s mother, and named after the Manhattan Club in New York City, where it was first made, so legend has it, in the early 1870s. With Lady Randolph Churchill as its ambassador, the drink first took Manhattan and then (arguably) Berlin through the actions of her son some 75 years later.

History records the Manhattan as the first cocktail to contain vermouth, a dry fortified wine from France and Italy which was developed in the late eighteenth century. Traditionally a Manhattan calls for sweet vermouth, but you can make a dry Manhattan if you use dry vermouth, or a perfect Manhattan by using equal amounts of sweet and dry vermouth. The traditional Manhattan calls for equal parts rye whiskey and sweet vermouth with 2:1 and 3:1 also popular – feel free to experiment.

  1. Pour a large measure of whiskey, a small measure of sweet vermouth and two dashes of bitters into a shaker of ice.
  2. Stir well (a good 20 times) and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a cherry and/or a twist of orange peel.

I perk up my Manhattans with a teaspoon of maraschino, a cherry liqueur from Italy that tastes reassuringly like Calpol. Technically this makes the drink a Red Hook, named for the neighbourhood of Brooklyn in which it was first made, but I think it is an admirable addition to the classic NY cocktail.

Aside from the dry and perfect Manhattans, the other main variation on a Manhattan is the Rob Roy which takes Scotch whisky instead of rye or the Brooklyn which is a perfect Manhattan with a bar spoon of Maraschino.

Advertisements

9 comments on “Manhattan

  1. […] only change to my standard Manhattan is the replacement of a dribble of bitters with a dribble of absinthe (or absinthe substitute in […]

  2. […] Old Time Aromatic Bitters – A strong combination of cinnamon and gingerbread gives way to a hint of aniseed, and is recommended for the Manhattan. […]

  3. […] On recommendation I’ve opted for a green tea infused dry vermouth and a chai infused sweet vermouth.  The former to provide a healthy jasmine tint to the classic Martini, and the latter to spice up (quite literally) my Manhattans. […]

  4. […] close cousin of both the Sazerac and the Manhattan, the Vieux Carré is naturally one of my favourites and one of the few times you will see me […]

  5. […] The absinthe rinse is a useful bar technique, and a key step in the creation of a good Sazerac, Vieux Carré or Absinthe Martini.  Of course the rinse technique isn’t restricted to absinthe and can be used with scotch whisky to create an Islay Martini or a peat-infused Manhattan. […]

  6. […] the Breakfast in Manhattan, a cross between a classic English breakfast Martini and a traditional Manhattan.  Perfect for anyone who enjoys an orangey punch to their whiskey […]

  7. […] ratio of Camomile to Jim Beam to create 200ml of a versatile Camomile Bourbon for use in exotic Manhattans and Whiskey […]

  8. […] stir is the correct procedure for most traditional cocktails, or at least the all-booze Manhattan, Martini types that don’t use anything lumpy like fruit juice or gloopy like egg white.  If […]

  9. […] in print (by O.H. Byron in The Modern Bartenders’ Guide (1884) as “same as a Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whiskey” it can clearly claim to have helped drinking society to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s