The Manhattan is a classic American cocktail, and is certainly a fitting way to celebrate as we come to the final days of the Easter season.
This “gimmick free” cocktail consists of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Simple, yet sophisticated, the Manhattan magnifies the tastes of the whiskey and reveals a strong yet smooth flavor of its own. Kevin Sintunuang in the Wall Street Journal notes:
[U]nlike its cosmopolitan brother in arms, it is dark and moody: If the Martini is James Bond’s drink, the Manhattan is Bruce Wayne’s.
This is the second cocktail we’ve profiled, so I wanted to review a few notes about this particular genre of drinks. The cocktail is a drink with at least one bitter ingredient and one sweet ingredient, mixed with a liquor. Cocktails can be divided into those meant to be consumed before dinner, and those meant to be consumed after dinner. The before-dinner cocktail should be relatively dry, whereas the after-dinner cocktail can be sweeter. Most cocktails are served in either cocktail glasses or old-fashioned glasses. The Manhattan’s sweet ingredient, the vermouth, along with its bitter ingredient, the bitters, put the cocktail into the before-dinner category, and it is always served in a traditional cocktail glass.
The Manhattan originated in New York City in the late 19th century, and, having survived through Prohibition, it continues today as a popular American drink.
To make a Manhattan, begin with the following ingredients:
- Rye whiskey (5 parts)
- Sweet vermouth (2 parts)
- Angostura bitters
- Maraschino cherry
Stir the whiskey, vermouth, and bitter over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass already garnished with a cherry.
The nice thing about the Manhattan, though, is that you need not be a strict traditionalist. The Manhattan adapts easily with variations. Try shaking the drink instead of stirring it (though be prepared for it to taste watered-down and appear less clear). Substitute rye for bourbon. Switch out the vermouth for St. Germain. Garnish with a slice of orange or a twist of lemon. With the Manhattan, the possibilities are endless.