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The Manhattan

24 November 2015Naomy Laan

The Manhattan

History of the “Manhattan”

One story claims that it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street. Other stories say that the Manhattan got its name from the Manhattan clubin New York where it was created in the early 1870s, especially for a banquet in honour of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden.

Similarities between the Martini are obvious. Spirit, vermouth, bitters and water. Like the Martini the Manhattan is traditionally made with sweet vermouth. The different ratios of spirit and vermouth give this cocktail different names; sweet, medium and dry Manhattan. However, some bar guests use these terms for the amount of sweet vermouth that is put  into their Manhattan because the combination of dry vermouth andbourbon or rye is not pleasing for most palates. But in all cases, please ask your guests what they want.

Another name for Medium Manhattan is Perfect Manhattan which contains sweet and dry vermouth. Rye is, like the Old Fashioned, the original base for the Manhattan so if you prefer bourbon, ask for a Bourbon Manhattan. The type of bourbon or rye you use is at the bartender’s discretion, but make sure you taste your spirit and vermouth neat as well as in the Manhattan.

The bitters in a Manhattan are Angostura bitters, which came on the market in 1824 and were invented as a medicine by a German doctor named Johan Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert. He was stationed on a military base in a place called Angostura in Venezuela. Angostura bitters are extremely concentrated and never drunk as such. It is used to flavour drinks and food, usually a few drops or dashes are used. Bitters add complexity and a subtle bitter note to your cocktails; they can bring flavours together and take your drink to the next level. A very important ingredient.

For the Manhattans at your bar, choose your spirit and vermouth wisely and play around with the ratios, bitters and dilution to create a superb Manhattan!

The “Manhattan” Recipe

  • 1½ oz. Bourbon
  • ¾ oz. Sweet vermouth
  • 3 dsh. Angostura Bitters

How to make a “Manhattan”

Step 1: Pour all ingredients in a mixing glass.
Step 2: Stir all ingredients.
Step 3: Strain into a pre-chilled small cocktail glass.
Step 4: Garnish with an orange zest.

Want to learn more about stirring cocktails? Follow this link!

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Naomy Laan

Naomy Laan

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