A Manhattan is a cocktail made with Rye Whisky or bourbon, sweet vermouth (proportions vary from a "sweet" 1:1 to a "dry" 4:1), and a dash of aromatic bitters, stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass, garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem.
The bitters are omitted by many barmen unless specifically requested. Sometimes juice from the cherry jar is added to the cocktail to add sweetness and color. Some recipes call for substituting orange bitters for the Angostura bitters.
A popular myth suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented at a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. Enjoyable as the tale might be, research has debunked it.
Manhattans are traditionally made with Christian Brothers brandy rather than bourbon in Wisconsin and a few surrounding areas. Therefore, it is crucial to specify your preferred spirit when traveling in these areas to avoid disappointment.
J.P. Morgan reportedly consumed a Manhattan at the end of every trading day on Wall Street.
The following are variations on the classic Manhattan:
- A Rob Roy is made with Scotch whisky as its principal ingredient.
- A Perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
- A Cuban Manhattan is a Perfect Manhattan with dark rum as its principal ingredient.
- A popular Florida option consists of a lime instead of the cherry, aromatic bitters, and dry vermouth.
See also: List of cocktails