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Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Inspired by the Manhattan Club in New York City, the Manhattan cocktail recipe is one of bartender’s favorite ]beverages, a true source of inspiration and a delightful drink great for a night out with your friends. Learn more about its recipe, its history and its variations.

Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitter, the Manhattan cocktail is often stirred with ice and served in a nice and elegant cocktail glass, garnished with one appetizing Maraschino cherry. Listed among the six basic drinks in one major inspirational book of cocktails (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David Embury), Manhattan can include a wide variety of whiskeys, from the Canadian whiskey, the bourbon, rye or Tennessee.

Valuable sources claim that this drink was invented at the end of the 19th century, in New York, at a party thrown by Winston Churchill’s mother in the honor of the presidential candidate Samuel J. Tildon, in the Manhattan club.

The drink had such a high and positive impact over the guests, that they have further promoted it all throughout the notorious party mansions of the city, baptizing it actually with the club’s name where it was initially presented to the public – Manhattan. This story is only a legend, as it has been later proven that Winston Churchill’s mother was, at that time, pregnant in Paris. However, the cocktail remained while the legend failed into oblivion, nowadays it managed to become one of the most reputed drinks in the world.

Due to the versatility and inspiring allure of the drink, the Manhattan cocktail mixing tradition inspired other variations, like the Dry Manhattan (it uses dry vermouth instead of the sweet one in the original recipe), Brandy Manhattan (replaces the rye with brandy), Perfect Manhattan (made with both sweet and dry vermouth), or Cuban Manhattan (dark rum).

The Manhattan cocktail was praised and popularized in many songs and movies: it was one of the most popular cocktails from “Sex and The City”, right after the Cosmopolitan; it featured in Marilyn Monroe’s “Some like it hot” and it gained its strong and worth-admiring reputation due to the one and only Frank Sinatra.

The necessary ingredients for an original Manhattan cocktail are:

  • 5cl Rye or Canadian
  • 2cl Sweet red vermouth
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnishment

  • Stir the ingredients over ice, strain them into a chilled glass, garnish with the Maraschino cherry and serve.

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