Have a Drink: Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan

Something classy this weekend

Manhattan cocktail | Relampago’s Rating: Star16Star16Star16Star16Star16

Here’s something sophisticated for the weekend. The Manhattan cocktail has been around for over 100 years, and is as classy as it is delicious. This recipe will take a little time and practice to perfect, mainly because of the way the cherries have to be prepared. But, you’ll find the investment of time is worth it as it really makes a difference in this cocktail.

Here’s a little history about the Manhattan, a drink that survived Prohibition and even thrived during the strange era of no alcohol in a “free” country:

A popular history suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated—the Manhattan cocktail. However, Lady Randolph was in France at the time and pregnant, so the story is likely a fiction.

However, there are prior references to various similar cocktail recipes called “Manhattan” and served in the Manhattan area. By one account it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street.

The original “Manhattan cocktail” was a mix of “American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura bitters”. During Prohibition (1920–1933) Canadian whisky was primarily used because it was available. An early record of the cocktail can be found in William Schmidt’s “The Flowing Bowl”, published in 1891. In it, he details a drink containing 2 dashes of gum (gomme syrup), 2 dashes of bitters, 1 dash of absinthe, 2/3 portion of whiskey and 1/3 portion of vermouth.

The same cocktail appears listed as a “Tennessee Cocktail” in Shake ’em Up! by V. Elliott and P. Strong: “Two parts of whiskey, one part of Italian Vermouth and a dash of bitters poured over ice and stirred vigorously.”

Here’s how you put on together. You will need:

  • Ice
  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 to 2 dashes bitters
  • An orange peel
  • Maraschino Cherries (prepared according to recipe below)
  • 1 cup maraschino liqueur
  • 1 pint sour cherries

How to prepare the Real Maraschino Cherries: Simmer the liqueur, turn off the heat, add the cherries, stir, cool, and pour into jars. Refrigerate. Cherries will be good for months.

How to prepare the Manhattan: Put ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the glass. Strain the drink into the glass. Add Maraschino Cherries. Enjoy!

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