The Manhattan cocktail is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed by drinkers around the world for over a century. It is a strong, spirit-forward drink that is both complex and simple at the same time. In this article, we will explore the history of the Manhattan cocktail, the recipe, and how to make one at home.

History of the Manhattan Cocktail:

The origins of the Manhattan cocktail are somewhat mysterious. There are a few different stories about how it was created, and none of them can be confirmed with certainty. One popular theory is that it was invented in the late 1800s at the Manhattan Club in New York City. It was said to have been created for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill. The story goes that the drink was such a hit that it became a regular offering at the club and eventually spread to other bars around the city.

Another theory is that the drink was created in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar in the Bowery district of Manhattan. Black supposedly created the drink for a customer who wanted something different from the usual whiskey cocktail.

Regardless of its origin, the Manhattan cocktail quickly became a popular drink in New York City and beyond. It was particularly popular during the prohibition era when bootlegged whiskey was readily available.


The Manhattan cocktail is a simple drink that is easy to make at home. Here is the classic recipe:


  • 2 oz. rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
  • Orange peel for garnish


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add the rye whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
  3. Stir for about 30 seconds until the drink is well-chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a twist of orange peel.

Tips for Making the Perfect Manhattan:

  • Use a good quality rye whiskey or bourbon. The quality of the whiskey is key to making a great Manhattan cocktail.
  • Stir the ingredients well. Stirring helps to properly dilute and chill the drink while also creating a silky texture.
  • Use fresh ingredients. Fresh vermouth and bitters will make a big difference in the flavor of the drink.
  • Don’t skip the garnish. The maraschino cherry and orange peel add both flavor and visual appeal to the drink.


The Manhattan cocktail is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. Its origins may be shrouded in mystery, but its popularity is not. Whether you enjoy it at a fancy cocktail bar or make one at home, the Manhattan cocktail is a delicious and satisfying drink that is sure to please. So, go ahead and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

For more cocktail recipes:

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