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. Rittenhouse 100 proof rye works well though these days I prefer Knob Creek Rye. Carpano Antica vermouth is good but my preference is now Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. 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.