The Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Posted in Bourbon on March 3, 2014

Rob Roy Cocktail

The Manhattan is one of the oldest classic cocktails. It is basically a combination between whiskey, vermouth and bitters and it is believed to be among the first cocktails which were using vermouth. Traditionally, this cocktail was prepared with rye whiskey. However, the recipe was changed during the prohibition era because only Canadian whiskey was available. Nowadays it is made with both rye and Canadian whiskey, but some bartenders also use bourbon, blended whiskey or Tennessee whiskey. However, cocktail enthusiasts claim that a true Manhattan needs to be done with rye whiskey.

The history of this cocktail is quite blurry. Some say that it was invented in the Manhattan Club in the early 1870s, at a party hosted by the mother of Winston Churchill. The party was a success and numerous guests continued to ask for the drink using the name of club where they have first served it. However, the story might be fictional because the mother of Winston Churchill is said to have been in France at that time.

Regardless of its history, the Manhattan remains one of the most famous cocktails worldwide. It is one of the five cocktails named after the five boroughs in New York. It is also one of the six basic drinks in the famous book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

The cocktail was obviously subjected to numerous variations. Numerous bartenders still modify the original recipe in order to display their creativity and skills. Traditionally made with rye whiskey, the Manhattan is now done with various whiskey types. Similarly, the bitters is sometimes replaced with orange bitters or it is eliminated from the recipe altogether.  There are countless of Manhattan variations. You first have to try the original recipe and see how you like it. After mastering it, you can let your imagination free and play with the ingredients. Or, you can stick to the opinion that classic recipes are always better.

The Recipe for the Manhattan Cocktail

You need the following ingredients:

  • 2 oz. of rye whiskey.
  • ½ oz. of sweet vermouth.
  • 2-3 dashes of angostura bitters.
  • A maraschino cherry for garnish.

Put all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir the well. Strain in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the maraschino cherry.

Some people shake the ingredients instead of stirring, but the original recipe was not including a shaker.

You can use scotch whiskey instead of rye whiskey and make a Rob Roy or you can use dry vermouth instead of sweet one and make a Dry Manhattan. The latest one is served with a twist. The Perfect Manhattan uses a combination of equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth instead of only one type. Other variations can be made with rum and tequila. However, they go kind of far from the original cocktail.

Leave a Reply