Cocktail Quickie: The Manhattan

Manhattan cocktailThe Manhattan has always been the bad girl of cocktails.

A mix of whiskey, vermouth and bitters, it is rumored to have been created in 1870s in an eponymous New York social club in honor of Winston Churchill’s mother.

The drink is a classic, as smooth as the dark honey color it takes on. The Manhattan is also versatile, working well with rye or bourbon, and turning out as neatly in a tumbler as in a martini glass. And that maraschino cherry! Go ahead, tie  a knot in the stem with your tongue. Here’s how.

The other night a few girlfriends met up at our favorite watering hole and asked the bartender to surprise us with his version of the Manhattan. I’m not sure any of us really paid attention to the ingredients he was using, instead our eyes went to his strong square hands and their controlled acrobatics as he comingled spirits, ice, and garnish. It was a performance for our benefit, and we happily drank it in.

Here are two basic Manhattan recipes:

Manhattan with Rye
Ingredients:
2 ounces of rye whiskey (Canadian rye)
1 ounce of vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Directions:
Stir the ingredients and add ice, or pour over cracked ice. Add a maraschino cherry and serve.

Manhattan with Bourbon
Ingredients:
2 ounces of bourbon
1 ounce of sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Directions:
Stir the ingredients and add ice, or pour over cracked ice. Add a strip of curled orange peel.

 

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Image via Glenn Dettwiler/Flickr