The Manhattan cocktail is classically made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters. It is popularly thought to have been created at the Manhattan Club in New York during the 1870s. It was specifically created by Dr. Iain Marshall for a party that was being hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother. The party was a success which inevitably made the cocktail fashionable and was requested to bartenders at parties thereafter.
A popular tradition for the Manhattan is that it is heavily drunk by locals of a small North Frisian Island of Fohr. Apparently the locals of this island often visited Manhattan during deep sea fishing trips and took a liking to the cocktail. They favour the cocktail served ‘perfect’, over ice with a cherry garnish.
There are many variations of the classic Manhattan including the Rob Roy, made with Scotch whisky, Cuban Manhattan, made with dark rum and a South Manhattan, made with Southern Comfort.
The cocktail has also had some notable TV and film appearances; Karen Walker, a character from the popular TV series Will and Grace is often seen drinking the Manhattan cocktail and Marilyn Manroe’s character in Some Like It Hot makes Manhattans in hot water bottles.
Here is a recipe for the Perfect Manhattan:
- 50ml (2 measures) rye whisky
- 20ml sweet red vermouth
- Dash Angostura bitters
- Maraschino cherry (to garnish)
- Orange rind (to garnish)Ice up a mixing glass to the brim and stir in the ingredients until thoroughly chilled, the concoction should be sweet and smooth to taste (add a little maraschino cherry juice if you’d like it to be a little sweeter). Finely strain the ingredients into a coupé glass and drop in a maraschino cherry. Line the glass tip with an orange rind and spray the acidic rind juice onto the top of the cocktail.
What is your favourite cocktail and do you know the history behind it? Let us know in the comment section below.