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 club
in 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!