Manhattan cocktail in a martini glass

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Manhattan is one of the fundamental classic cocktails. It is where the journey started but its origins are lost in the mists. The first printed reference is found in a New York newspaper in the early 1880s. There was a Manhattan Club approximately where the Empire State Building now stands but the story of the drink originating there is likely a myth.

We do know that in the nineteenth century New York was a rye-drinking town so the early Manhattan would have been made with rye whiskey. I particularly like to use Rittenhouse 100 proof rye. I would recommend Carpano Antica for the vermouth though I admit to not yet having tried Martini & Rossi or Cinzano rosso vermouths. The Angostura bitters is an essential ingredient and I'm inclined to be generous in my interpretation of two dashes.

Black Manhattan

This variation was created by Todd Smith at San Francisco’s Bourbon & Branch in 2005. It swaps the sweet vermouth for an Italian Amaro (bitter liqueur). The original recipe calls for Averna Amaro but I prefer Kara Newman's suggestion of Ramazzotti Amaro. It has a richer flavor. I am hesitant to admit it but I prefer this version to the original Manhattan.