dashes Angostura bitters
- Stir the rye, vermouth, and bitters well with cracked ice.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a twist and/or a cocktail cherry.
The Manhattan demands respect. It is brazen and strong: rye whiskey (or bourbon, but we think you're better off with rye), Italian vermouth, and aromatic bitters. It is rich, with flavors both spicier and sweeter. And in the annals of cocktail-making, it is an all-around heavyweight champion. Consider knowing how to make a Manhattan like knowing how to properly shake hands. No weak wrists for the handshake. No ice for the Manhattan. Have at it.
A Little Background
You want to know why the Manhattan is called the Manhattan? Because it is one of the best damn cocktails on record, so they named it for the best damn city in the world. Well, perhaps its origin story is not quite so jingoistic, but it's close. The Manhattan cocktail's origins are commonly traced back to the Manhattan Club, in Manhattan, in the latter half of the 19th Century, where it was crafted for a party thrown by Winston Churchill's mother. As drinks historian points out, that's a load of bull; Lady Randolph Churchill was pregnant in England at the time of this rumored party.
But the Manhattan Club did hoard very old rye, and it did serve a Manhattan, though with a different recipe. That's how cocktail history goes: Things evolve. During the Prohibition, Manhattans had to be served with Canadian whisky—the only whisky people could get their hand on. But despite the years, the Manhattan is still being enjoyed in New York and all the other great metropolises. It's that good.
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If You Like This, Try These
The other very good, very classic whiskey cocktail that is made with rye is the Old Fashioned. You know that one. Try a Whiskey Sour with rye too, if you favor it over bourbon. The Sazerac is another rye whiskey cocktail rich with history that you'll like. And if your flavor preferences veer from rye, try a Manhattan with bourbon or a Rob Roy, which is a Manhattan made with scotch. And this is cool: the Manhattan has a borough neighbor, the cocktail, that's made with rye, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon.
What You Need
Here’s what you need to do a Manhattan justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.