The Manhattan is a cool, classic cocktail. Whether you’re a bartender in training or looking to increase your repertoire of drinks served from the comfort of your home, it’s a smart choice to add to your list! At UrbanBar, a traditional Manhattan is one of our favourite tipples, and we’ll show you how to make one following the original, old-school recipe.
A Manhattan cocktail is a whiskey-based drink, not for the fainthearted. A slightly bitter, herbal taste lingers on the tongue as a high-quality rye or bourbon warms the throat. It’s multidimensional, full of heart, and a must-try for any lover of whiskey. This is an old cocktail, too, and has come to be associated with the class and glamour of the early 1900s. Don your finest suit or classic-cut dress and fix yourself a Manhattan.
The Manhattan cocktail is said to have been invented around the 1880s in New York, when the cocktail scene in the city was booming. In fact, the story goes that the cocktail was created in the Manhattan Club, from which it found its namesake. It was first believed that Dr Ian Marshall fixed the drink for Lady Randolph Churchill - the mother of Winston Churchill - but this was quite quickly shown to be nothing but legend when it was discovered that she was pregnant in London at the time, and far from the bars of New York!
It’s more likely that the Manhattan was created by a man referred to as Black in William F. Mulhall’s book Valentine’s Manual of New York. This can’t be verified, but it does seem a little more truthful.
There are a few different recipes for a Manhattan from its early years in the city. In O.H. Byron’s Book The Modern Bartenders’ Guide, there were two options bartenders could choose from. The first Manhattan followed this recipe:
1 wine glass whisky
1 wine glass Italian vermouth
2 dashes Curacao
2 dashes Angostura bitters
The second recipe was slightly different, written as:
1 pony French vermouth
1 pony whiskey
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes gum syrup
If you want to make a really old-fashioned Manhattan, follow one of these recipes! However, this isn’t actually how a classic Manhattan is made these days. The recipe quickly changed, removing any traces of gum syrup and switching to a sweet vermouth.
To create a classic Manhattan, you’ll need:
2 ounces of rye or bourbon whisky
1 ounce of sweet vermouth
2 to 3 dashes of aromatic bitters (Angostura or orange are favoured)
Cherries to garnish
Mix the whisky, vermouth, and bitters in a glass over ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass - we prefer the 1910 Nick & Nora Coupe Glass to follow the old-school glamour vibe - garnish with a cherry, and enjoy!
If you’re interested in mixology and looking to craft high-quality cocktails full of flavour, be sure to browse our range at Urban Bar. From Cocktail Kit Bags to Top-Shelf Spirits, we have everything you need to become the best bartender in town.
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