Famous drinks often have disputed or mysterious origins (a few colorful histories of other drinks here, here, and here). The Manhattan cocktail fits this bill and is a classic cocktail any bartender should master.
Luckily, it's very easy to make with very few ingredients so make sure to keep these staples around for impressing your next guest with some classic mixology skills.
- 1 1/2 oz. of whiskey - I prefer rye, but bourbon is suitable (Rittenhouse and Bulleit are good rye brands)
- 3/4 oz. of vermouth - I prefer red Italian vermouth for a sweeter taste but some like the white dry vermouth for a boozier taste
- 2-3 dashes of bitters - Angostura all the way
- Garnish - I prefer a thin lemon twist rubbed around the rim of the coupe glass but a maraschino cherry is perfectly acceptable to throw in at the end
- Put a coupe glass in the freezer; you can use a lowball or martini glass in a pinch
- Let the coupe glass cool while you prepare the ingredients
- Pour the whiskey and vermouth over a little ice in a mixing glass
- Add in the 2-3 dashes of bitters
- Fill in the mixing glass with ice
- Stir around the perimeter of the mixing glass with a bar spoon to thoroughly cool and mix the ingredients
- Strain the mixture into the coupe glass with a cocktail strainer - I double strain with a julep strainer over a fine mesh strainer, but one strainer can be sufficient
- Garnish and serve - I take a thin lemon twist and rub it around the rim of the glass before putting into the drink, but you can also just drop in a maraschino cherry and call it a day
Of course, let your taste buds guide you - try increasing your whiskey to 2 oz., adding equal amounts of whiskey and vermouth, and changing the whiskeys and vermouths between rye, bourbon and Canadian whisky as well as sweet, dry, and specialty vermouths. But whatever you do, make it your own so that you can add to the ongoing mystery of the Manhattan.