The Manhattan cocktail appeared sometime in the 1880s. It is one of those drinks whose true history we will probably never know, although there is a big clue in the name. It was almost certainly created in New York. It did then, and has ever since, consist of: whiskey (American Rye by tradition), vermouth (sweet or a “perfect” combination of sweet and dry, don’t be tempted to try just dry, that really doesn’t work) and bitters. It is stirred with ice and served straight up with a cherry. Perfect in its simplicity, it is probably impossible to be improved upon.
50ml Rye Whiskey
3 drops of Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to ice filled mixing jar and still well. Strain in to coupette glass and garnish with a cherry.
Of course it is such a perfect drink that over the years bartenders have been tempted to play around with it. As a result Manhattan variants have emerged. One of our favourites, created by San Francisco bartender Todd Smith, sees the sweet vermouth replaced by Amaro. The strong, peppery character of American Rye Whiskey is joined by the intricate flavours of Amaro and a blend of aromatic bitters, strong, balanced and rewarding.