I’m back with another happy hour recipe to kick off your (early) weekend: a classic manhattan cocktail recipe. I whipped these up last week as an excuse to break into our Jack Rudy bourbon cherries that we picked up from Salt and Sundry earlier in the pandemic.
To be honest, a Manhattan is not a drink I’d order if I was at a bar. They’re a little on the strong side in my opinion…if I wanted to drink bourbon straight (which was, in fact, my go-to drink for a long time), I’d just drink it straight. Why add in the extra stuff when what you’re getting is a super stiff cocktail? But, alas, a Manhattan is iconic. So, here we are.
The History of the Manhattan Cocktail
Okay, since I’ve told you this is an iconic cocktail. Let’s dip our toes into the history before we get into the recipe. As its name might suggest, the Manhattan first originated in Manhattan at the Manhattan club in the 1880s. Beyond that, there are all sorts of rumors involving everyone from Winston Churchill to a man named Dr. Iain Marshall and a failed presidential candidate. None of this can be confirmed.
Yet, somehow the Manhattan has continued to earn its place as a barkeep staple 140 years later — and in essentially the exact same iteration as those first storied drinks.
A Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
Note: a true classic Manhattan is made with rye, not bourbon, but, guess what, I didn’t have rye on hand, so I’ll do classic my way — and with a little less bite. Of course, if you’d like to make sure your bar is better stocked than mine was in this instance, check out my post on a well-appointed bar cart.
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce sweet red vermouth
3 (or 4…) dashes Angostura bitters
A cherry to garnish (I used Jack Rudy’s Bourbon Cocktail Cherries)
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it up. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange peel if you happen to have one on hand (I did not, clearly). Cheers!