[The Cocktail Chronicles]

A history of cocktail favorites
By Sam Ujvary
The Manhattan Project

It’s one of the oldest cocktails and continues to thrive among Mad Men-lovers and whiskey connoisseurs alike. It’s hailed the King of Vermouth Drinks and is a total power symbol. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s named after one of the most powerful cities in the world, and maybe it’s the fact that great men in history have been known to consume it—either way, the Manhattan has made—and maintained—its mark in our world.
There are stories of where this perfectly balanced mix of sweet and strong originated. The Manhattan Club/Churchill story has been debunked many times over, and the story that seems to stick is the 1860s account in which William F Mulhall, bartender of the famed Hoffman House in Manhattan, recalls a man by the name of Black as coming up with the Big Apple’s namesake drink.
The stirred-not-shaken drink of its kind, the Manhattan is a happily smooth combination of whiskey (or more modernly, bourbon), sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters. In my bartending days, I was once told something that will always stick with me: the way to remember how to make a Manhattan. The area code for a borough in Manhattan is 212. Two parts whiskey or bourbon, one dash of bitters, and two parts sweet vermouth. Pour over ice, stir, and garnish with a Maraschino cherry and poof—you’re automatically refined.

Here’s to you.