- 2 1/2 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 4 drops of Angostura bitter
- 1 Maraschino Cherry (for garnish)
- orange twist
- Stir bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitter with ice in a mixing glass (don’t shake)
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange twist
Short answer: no ones really knows.
Long answer: there are currently two main origin stories for the Manhattan. First is that it was invented at New York City’s Manhattan Club in the 1870’s. The story goes that Jennie Jerome, aka Lady Randolph Churchill, aka Mommie Dearest to good ol’ Winston, was hosting a party there in honor of Samuel J. Tilden, presidential candidate at the time. Apparently a guest at the party, Dr. Iain Marshall, started whipping up drinks for the other guests at the party, and it was a hit. It was so popular that, even after the party, people began to request the drink, referring to it by the name of the club where it originated.
This story, while fun and satisfying, in that it’s easy to nail down a specific origin date, is likely false, as Lady Randolph was, by many accounts, in Europe and pregnant at the time the party was to have taken place.
The more likely to be true version of events comes from William F. Mulhall, a bartender who worked at the famed Hoffman House for over 30 years. In a story he wrote in the 1880s, he mentions, “The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the 1860s.” He also claims that it was “probably the most famous drink in the world in its time.” This story, while more plausible than the first, is not without issues. Namely, if Mr. Black popularized the drink the world-over in the 1860s, it’s surprising we have no mention of it until the 1880s.
Alcohol (strong): 8/10