Everyone knows how to make a martini, but if you really want to distinguish yourself, learn how to make a Manhattan cocktail. It’s just as smooth and strong as its gin-drenched rival, and rumor has it the Manhattan is the drink J.P. Morgan reached for as the stock market closed each day. While the first known recipe appeared in the 1887 edition of “Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide,” the origin of the Manhattan is uncertain. Most agree it was created in Manhattan, probably during the 1870s, and possibly by the Manhattan Club for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mother. No matter where it got its start, this classic cocktail is a great way to finish a long week. Make a Manhattan and see for yourself.
To make a Manhattan cocktail, you will need:
- Dash of bitters
- 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 cup ice
- A cherry (maraschino or dried and soaked in whiskey)
- A cocktail shaker
- A cocktail glass
- A stirrer (for a stirred cocktail)
- Before you attempt to make a Manhattan, invest in a bottle of rye whiskey. Although less popular than bourbon or malt whiskey, rye was actually the grain that many early distillers preferred when making American whiskey. Rye tends to have a less sweet and more spicy taste than some of its cousins. If you don’t have rye whiskey on hand, bartenders say Canadian Club makes a decent substitute.
- Decide if you want to make your Manhattan shaken or stirred. Purists argue that any drink with all-alcoholic ingredients—a cocktail in the historical sense of the word—should be stirred. Shaking may allow air bubbles or tiny pieces of ice to cloud the drink, impeding its clarity. However, shaking a cocktail gives it more exposure to the surface area of ice, making the drink colder. Mix your Manhattan according to your preference.
- To make a Manhattan, chill your cocktail shaker. When it’s cold, pour in a dash of bitters, 1/2 an ounce of vermouth, and 2 1/2 ounces of rye whiskey. Add one cup of ice and either stir the drink with a stirrer for twenty seconds until it’s well chilled, or place the lid on your shaker and shake your Manhattan vigorously for 30 seconds until cold. Place a cherry in the bottom of a chilled martini or coupe glass, and strain the Manhattan over the cherry. Serve it immediately.