The Manhattan is not just a cocktail. It’s a personal statement. An hour-long debate waiting to happen. And the evolution of the American cocktail scene from the 19th century through today.
Among the most famous and influential cocktails throughout the history of the craft, the Manhattan is a wonderful cocktail with seemingly endless incarnations. In fact, one could probably start a knockdown, drag-out barroom brawl by simply suggesting a de facto garnish for this chameleon.
If you prefer the maraschino cherry to the lemon twist, go for it. Hell, you can even replace the Grand Marnier in the classic Manhattan drink recipe with Luxardo Maraschino and any other such thing you come up with in the process. There is no end to what a person can do with the combination of whiskey and sweet vermouth.
In that same vein, there are plenty of people out there who take their Manhattan with bourbon. And if that’s the case, why stop there? Why not Irish whiskey? Why not Scotch? The point is experimentation is inevitable.
There is no definitive recipe for this cocktail, but the one below dates all the way back to the Professor himself, Jerry Thomas, the “father of mixology.” The original drink recipe differs from the modern day Manhattan in a variety of ways. The most pronounced difference is that the original is a vermouth-based cocktail, unlike the rye-based cocktail more popular today. The original recipe also calls for Grand Marnier, which adds another layer of depth, and makes for a remarkably smooth, albeit sweeter final product.
1-1/4 ounces Sweet Vermouth
1-1/2 ounces Rye Whiskey
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Add ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir. Serve up in a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. Many enjoy this drink on the rocks. Nothing wrong with that.
The Manhattan Cocktail
This is what you’ll get if you order a Manhattan today, which is a bit different from what was originally called a Manhattan. Thus it has been renamed the Manhattan Cocktail (though not by everyone). Actually a rather simple recipe, the Manhattan Cocktail can perhaps be best remembered by its use of the borough's own area code: 212.
2 ounce Rye Whiskey-base
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Add ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice, and stir. Serve up in a cocktail glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry, Or whatever the bartender tells you. We don't want any trouble...Again, there are more than a few people who prefer theirs on the rocks.
The Perfect Manhattan
The Perfect Manhattan refers more to the ingredient ration than it does to the faultless nature of the drink. The term “perfect” as applied to any cocktail means a split of both sweet and dry vermouth, instead of one or the other. In the case of this Manhattan drink recipe, as with the Rob Roy and many other cocktails, the Perfect variation seems best suited for drinkers who want a more complex cocktail experience rather than a sweet one. If sweet vermouth is typically too sweet for you, give this cocktail recipe a try. The dry vermouth tempers the sugars and gives your mouth a chance to adapt to the transition between the rye and sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1/4 ounce Dry Vermouth
1-3/4 ounces Rye Whiskey
Add ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir. Serve up in a cocktail glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry.