Cocktail of the Month: Manhattan

Last month I discussed our New Years Resolution, to expand our cocktail knowledge in the best possible way – hands-on.

February’s cocktail was the Manhattan.

As with most cocktails, the Manhattan’s origin story is muddled. It’s definitely an American original, and most agree that it was invented in the latter half of the nineteenth century in New York City. Context clues!

My personal impression of a Manhattan, before I made one, was that it was a little-old-lady drink. I thought it would probably be sweet and fussy, like a doily.

The Manhattan’s ingredients include whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. We chose a cherry garnish because we are unbelievably festive.


The classic ratio for a Manhattan is 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, and 1-2 dashes bitters. All that goes in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and is then strained into glasses with your preferred garnish.


Turns out this drink will knock you on your ass.

I was completely wrong in my pre-drinking assessment of the Manhattan. It is powerful stuff, made for sipping over the course of an evening. The vermouth serves to take the edge off the whiskey, which it does without masking the whiskey’s muscular punch. It comes out of the cocktail shaker cold, and the flavors change as it warms up. I preferred it near room temperature, as did Jason.

The Manhattan tastes old-fashioned, but in a good way. It’s an adult drink.

This will not be my signature cocktail, but I really enjoyed trying it. No doilies here!

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