Manhattan (cocktail)

IBA Official Cocktail
A classic 2:1 Manhattan, made with Canadian whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters, and a cherry
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard garnish


Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Stirred over ice, strained into a chilled glass, garnished, and served straight up.

A Manhattan is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Commonly used whiskeys include rye (the traditional choice), Canadian whisky (simply called Rye in Canada), bourbon, blended whiskey and Tennessee whiskey. The cocktail is often stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass, where it is garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem.[1][2] A Manhattan is also frequently served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass (lowball glass).

It is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.[3]


Origin and history

A popular history suggests 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 (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated—"the Manhattan cocktail."[4][5] However, Lady Randolph was in France at the time and pregnant, so the story is likely a fiction.[6] The original "Manhattan cocktail" was a mix of "American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura bitters".[7][8]

However, there are prior references to various similar cocktail recipes called "Manhattan" and served in the Manhattan area.[5] By one account it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street.[3]

An early record of the cocktail can be found in William Schmidt's "The Flowing Bowl", published in 1891. In it, he details a drink containing 2 dashes of gum, 2 dashes of bitters, 1 dash of absinthe, 2/3 portion of whiskey and 1/3 portion of vermouth.

The same cocktail appears listed as a "Tennessee Cocktail" in 'Shake 'em Up!' by V. Elliott and P. Strong, copyright 1930 (p. 39): "Two parts of whiskey, one part of Italian Vermouth and a dash of bitters poured over ice and stirred vigorously."


On the small North Frisian island of Föhr, the Manhattan cocktail is a standard drink at almost every cafe restaurant, and 'get together' of locals.[9] The story goes, that many of the people of Föhr emigrated to Manhattan during deep sea fishing trips, took a liking to the drink, and brought it back to Föhr with them. The drink is usually mixed 1 part (the 'perfect' is said to be half white/half red) vermouth to 2 parts whiskey, with a dash of bitters, served ice cold, in an ice cold glass, or with ice and a cherry garnish.


A Manhattan.

Traditional views insist that a Manhattan be made with rye whiskey. However, nowadays, it is more often than not made with bourbon or Canadian whisky (both of which may contain no rye at all.).

The Manhattan is subject to considerable variation and innovation, and is often a way for the best bartenders to show off their creativity.[3] Some shake the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker instead of stirring it, creating a froth on the surface of the drink. Angostura are the classic bitters, but orange bitters, Peychaud's Bitters, and others may be used; using Fernet-Branca yields what is called a Fanciulli cocktail.[10] Some make their own bitters and syrups, substitute comparable digestifs in place of vermouth, specialize in local or rare whiskeys, or use other exotic ingredients.[3] A lemon peel may be used as garnish. Some add juice from the cherry jar or Maraschino liqueur to the cocktail for additional sweetness and color.

Originally, bitters were considered an integral part of any cocktail, as the ingredient that differentiated a cocktail from a sling.[11] Over time, those definitions of cocktail and sling have become archaic, as sling has fallen out of general use (other than in certain drink names), and cocktail can mean any drink that resembles a martini, or simply any mixed drink.

The following are other variations on the classic Manhattan:

  • A Rob Roy is made with Scotch whisky.[3]
  • A Dry Manhattan is made with dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth and served with a twist.[3] Dry Manhattans were popularized by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.[citation needed]
  • A Perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.[3]
  • A Brandy Manhattan is made with brandy rather than rye.[12]
  • A Ruby Manhattan is made with port rather than vermouth.[13]
  • A Metropolitan is similar to a brandy manhattan, but with a 3-to-1 ratio of cognac or brandy to vermouth.[12]
  • A Cuban Manhattan is a Perfect Manhattan with dark rum as its principal ingredient.[14]
  • A Latin Manhattan is made with equal parts of white rum, sweet and dry vermouth, and a splash of Maraschino cherry juice, served up with a twist.
  • A Royal Manhattan is made with Crown Royal Canadian Whisky.[14]
  • A Tijuana Manhattan is made with an Anejo Tequila.[15]
  • A Monte Carlo is made with Bénédictine in place of vermouth
  • A Soul Manhattan is made with Absinthe instead of Vermouth
  • The Fourth Regiment is a classic (ca. 1889) cocktail that uses a 1/1 ratio of whiskey and vermouth, and uses three dashes of three different bitters - orange bitters, celery bitters, and Peychaud's Bitters.[16]

In popular culture

The cocktail has been referenced prominently in numerous films and television shows. Manhattans, along with cosmopolitans, were frequently consumed on the HBO television series Sex and the City.[17] On the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, Karen Walker is also known to drink Manhattans.[18] Along with Port wine, Manhattans frequent many Jack Kerouac novels, such as Big Sur, On The Road and The Subterraneans.[citation needed] In the film Some Like It Hot, set during Prohibition, Marilyn Monroe's character, Sugar Cane, makes Manhattans in a hot water bottle.Template:Http:// Bart Simpson's Manhattans were well regarded by the mobsters of Springfield on an episode of The Simpsons. On the television series Home Improvement, Tim Allen's character occasionally ordered a Perfect Manhattan when in a bar or restaurant. On the "Reunion" episode of the television show 30 Rock Liz Lemon attends her high school reunion and orders a Manhattan. When asked what kind of bourbon she wants, she becomes flustered (having only ordered the drink to show off how cosmopolitan she has become) and orders a white wine spritzer instead.


  1. ^ Recipe for a Manhattan Cocktail from
  2. ^ Recipe for a classic Manhattan Cocktail
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Regan, Gary (September 21, 2007). "The Manhattan project: A bartender spills his secrets on the king of cocktails". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. ^ Holiday Cocktail Party from
  5. ^ a b "Patrick Murphy's The Barman's Corner". Buckeye Tavern: pg. 6, col. 2. 15 March 1945.  qtd. in "Moscow Mule; Molotov Cocktail; Manhattan Cocktail". The Linguist List. American Dialect Society. 28 October 2000. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  6. ^ Winston Churchill, My Early Life
  7. ^ Bonisteel, Sara (22 May 2006). "Tipplers Toast the Cocktail on Its 200th 'Anniversary'". Fox News Network.,2933,196538,00.html. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  8. ^ "Manhattan". Cocktail Times. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  9. ^ Essen und Trinken from Fö
  10. ^ Felten, Eric (January 3, 2009). "Making Bitter Fernet-Branca Much Easier to Swallow". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  11. ^ Levin, Steve (May 12, 2006). "The Origin of Cocktails". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  12. ^ a b Felten, Eric (September 8, 2007). "In a League of Their Own: The Ivy League, That Is". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  13. ^ "Ruby Manhattam". Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  14. ^ a b "Manhattan". Great Cocktails. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  15. ^ Donohue, Peter (Feb 2011) Azul 17 Tequila Lounge
  16. ^ How to make the Fourth Regiment Cocktail - The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess
  17. ^ Travel Article 26 - Island Travel from
  18. ^

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Manhattan (Cocktail) — Manhattan mit einem Schokokuchen Der Manhattan ist ein klassischer Cocktail aus Whiskey bzw. Whisky und rotem süßen Wermut und gehört als kleiner, aromatischer und stark alkoholischer Shortdrink zur Gruppe der Aperitifs oder Before Dinner… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Manhattan (cocktail) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Manhattan (homonymie). Un Manhattan est un cocktail de type short drink qui peut se servir en apéritif. Il se compose généralement de quelques gouttes d amer, d un jet de vermouth et de whisky nord américain… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • manhattan cocktail — noun see manhattan I, 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Manhattan Cocktail (film) — Manhattan Cocktail theatrical poster Directed by Dorothy Arzner Written by Ethel Doherty (script) George Marion Jr. (titles) …   Wikipedia

  • Cocktail manhattan — Manhattan (cocktail) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Manhattan (homonymie). Un Manhattan est un cocktail de type short drink qui peut se servir en apéritif. Il se compose généralement de quelques gouttes d amer, d un jet de vermouth et de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MANHATTAN — MANHATTA «La ville au rythme de laquelle bat le cœur de tout Américain», Manhattan, est l’un des cinq boroughs de New York. Son site morcelé, composé d’îles et de chenaux, attire dès 1623 les Néerlandais, qui fondent la New Amsterdam, sur cet… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Manhattan (Begriffsklärung) — Manhattan ist der Name folgender Orte: Manhattan, Insel und gleichnamiger Stadtteil von New York City, Gebiet gleichbedeutend mit New York County Manhattan (Illinois), eine Stadt in Illinois, USA Manhattan (Kansas), Stadt in Kansas, USA Manhattan …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cocktail drum — Cocktail drums are a type of portable drum kit which combines bass drum and snare drum sounds in a single drum. Contents 1 History 2 Modern use 2.1 Notable players 3 …   Wikipedia

  • Manhattan (disambiguation) — Manhattan is a borough of New York City. Manhattan may also refer to: Contents 1 Places 2 Ships 3 Entertainment …   Wikipedia

  • Manhattan — main island of New York City, from Dutch, from a native name, perhaps representing a Delaware (Algonquian) source akin to Munsee munahan island. Bright favors Munsee /e:nta menahahte:nk/ where one gathers bows. As the name of a cocktail made of… …   Etymology dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.