Vintage Cocktails: THE MANHATTAN

The current cocktail trends are doing a time warp towards great vintage cocktails, bringing a big resurgence in Post-Edwardian, pre and post Prohibition, Tiki and even sixties and seventies drinks to happy hour.  Interestingly, I seem to be right in tune with this retro kick and have been revisiting some of my favorite classic cocktail recipes for a while now. Probably a backlash from all my tinkering with those flavored vodkas back when I first got interested in cocktailing.

I've done a couple of fun Bourbon Sours incorporating some fresh herbs and using jams as the sweeteners (The Apricot Lavender Bourbon Sour and the Blackberry Jam Bourbon Sour).  I had done a Maple Whiskey Sour a bit back as well and just this week tried out an Old Fashioned with bourbon in place of my usual brandy. (Yes, I'm off on whiskey at the moment.)

Today I am presenting you with a Manhattan, a classic cocktail with it's roots back in the mid-1800s*.


2 Oz. Rye Whiskey
1 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
1 Tsp. Maraschino Liqueur
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Orange Slice, Orange Twist and Homemade Maraschino Cherries.

Chill your glass in the freezer. Pour the rye, vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and the bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled. Pour into your chilled glass, garnish and enjoy.

* There is at least one early record of the Manhattan in William Schmidt's "The Flowing Bowl" which was published in 1891.

Just in case you wondered, here are some cocktails that are variations on the Manhattan:
  • A Rob Roy, made with Scotch Whiskey instead of Rye
  • A Dry Manhattan which uses Dry Vermouth in place of Sweet
  • A Brandy Manhattan which is made with Brandy instead of Rye
  • A Royal Manhattan which uses Crown Royal instead of Rye
  • A Ruby Manhattan, made with port rather than vermouth
  • A Metropolitan which is a Brandy Manhattan with a ratio of 3:1 cognac or brandy to vermouth

Updated 1-2019

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