Here it is people, the mother of all the classy & sophisticated cocktails – The Classic Manhattan. Deliciously and meticulously created with whiskey, bitters, sweet vermouth and that beautiful cherry garnish….the creation of this gem stems back to the late 1800′s and there are SEVERAL references as to who started it, when, where and with what ingredients.
A popular history suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was allegedly invented by one Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome a.k.a Lady Randolph Churchill a.k.a Winston’s mum in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden.
The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated—”the Manhattan cocktail”. Fancy-schmancy huh? Unfortunately, this rendition of the birth of the Manhattan may be a little hard to confirm, since Lady Randolph was supposedly in France at the time and UBER PREGGO so this story is likely a fiction. Bummer.
Now you know when the birth of drinks are involved, there has to be at least one bartender who has to take a claim — so there are prior references to various similar cocktail recipes called “Manhattan” and served in the Manhattan area. By one account it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street. Get it Bartender Black.
Another early record of the cocktail can be found in William Schmidt’s “The Flowing Bowl”, published in 1891. In it, he details a drink containing 2 dashes of gum (gomme syrup), 2 dashes of bitters, 1 dash of absinthe, 2/3 portion of whiskey and 1/3 portion of vermouth. Complicated.
The same cocktail appears listed as a “Tennessee Cocktail” in Shake ‘em Up! by V. Elliott and P. Strong, copyright 1930 (p. 39): “Two parts of whiskey, one part of Italian Vermouth and a dash of bitters poured over ice and stirred vigorously.” (This one sounds more like it…)
So who dun it? Don’t know, but we do know this drink has been around for centuries, and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.
“Classic” Manhattan Recipe
2 oz rye whiskey
1/2 fluid ounce sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 low-ball glass filled with ice cubes
1 maraschino cherry
Combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail mixing class. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled low-ball cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
You can’t go wrong with ANYTHING that comes with cherry on top.
Also, this cocktail comes in several variations so pick your poison!
- A “Dry” Manhattan - made with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth and served with a twist.
- A “Perfect” Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
- A “Brandy” Manhattan is made with Brandy instead of whiskey.
- A Metropolitan which is similar to the brandy Manhattan, but with a 3-to-1 ratio of brandy to vermouth.
- A “Cuban” Manhattan which is a Perfect Manhattan with dark rum as its principal ingredient.
- A “Tijuana” Manhattan is made with an Anejo Tequila.
- A Rob Roy - made with Scotch whisky.
Thank you to Wikipedia & AllRecipes.com for all of today’s TBT fun facts & recipes!