The Manhattan.


Being a bartender that uses classic recipes that were made before prohibition happened, you often come across people who order drinks wrong.  It isn't your fault!  During and after prohibition cocktail recipes were lost and the cocktail culture in America changed and not for the better....Drinks became overly sweet, artificial tasting, made with less integrity and most importantly made wrong!  One cocktail gets ordered and made wrong the most and that is the Manhattan.  The Manhattan is perfect the way it was made and it was made with RYE whiskey not Bourbon, because why?  When the Manhattan was created around the late 1800's do you really think a Yankee would make a drink with a southern confederate spirit...don't think so it was in the middle of the civil war so rye whiskey was made up north and that what was used!  There are two stories of the birth of the Manhattan cocktail.  One being 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 aka Lady Randolph Chruchill, mother of Winston Churchill in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden.  The success of the engagement made the drink popular and many people started to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated the "Manhattan club drink," but many reports state that Lady Randolph was in France at the time and pregnant, so the story is likely not true.  The second story comes from William F. Mulhall, a bartender who kept bar at New York’s famed Hoffman House for more than 30 years, starting in the early 1880s.  He states, "The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the 1860's, probably the most famous drink in the world in its time."  Now you tell me what you think is the real story??  Whatever story you believe to be true, one thing is certain that is was definitely made with rye whiskey.  However if you request a bourbon Manhattan, yes I will make it for you but do me favor and if you haven't had it with rye please give it a try!  Who knows maybe you will like it better!?


  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz. Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey 10 yr.
  • 1 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth 


Take out your stir glass and add all ingredients above.  Take 4-5 medium sized ice cubes and add to stir glass with ingredients and stir with your stir spoon.  Stir for around a minute and then take your julep strainer and strain the cocktail out into a chilled coupe glass without ice.   Drop in a Luxardo Marischino cherry and there you have it a classic Manhattan!  Cheers!


A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions:  

Whistlepig Rye Whiskey 10 yr:  Aged a minimum of 10 years at 100 proof and a 100 percent rye whiskey hand bottled on a former dairy farm in Shoreham, Vermont.  Master Distiller Dave Pickerell formerly Maker's Mark Master Distiller of 14 years along with his proprietor Raj Peter Bhakta began cultivating this beauty starting back in early 2000 and was finally released in 2010.  Right away it was awarded as one of the finest rye whiskeys in the land!  They started growing their own source of rye and will be the first ever single estate rye producer in the U.S. since prohibition in just a few short years!  Can't wait!  On the nose notes of ginger, nutmeg, allspice, anise, clove and orange peel.  On the palate notes of caramel, vanilla, honey, mint, dark chocolate and charred oak.  A favorite of mine!  Long live Mortimer the pig!

Angostura bitters:  See my post on The Big Chill!

Carpano Antica sweet vermouth:  See my post on the Negroni!