The Manhattan

The Manhattan

The Manhattan

The Manhattan – 12 Bottle Bar style

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters
Splash of Orange Liqueur

Add Orange Liqueur to a coupe glass and place in the freezer.
Add all other ingredients to a mixing glass and place in the freezer.
Let everything chill for 10+ minutes.
Remove the mixing glass from the freezer, add large ice and stir gently.
Remove coupe glass from freezer. Twirl to coat inside of glass with Orange Liqueur. Shake out excess.
Strain mixing glass contents into coupe.

Squeeze large twist of orange peel over the glass, releasing the oils. Run peel over the rim of glass, then toss into drink.

* * *

As of Nov. 9, 2010, we dropped Peychaud’s Bitters in favor of Orange Bitters.  This drink and the post have been updated to reflect the change.

If you’ve drunk the 12 Bottle Bar kool-aid, this one is for you. A single concoction with five — count them — five of the twelve bottles and no mixers. It doesn’t get any more exciting — or tasty — than this. Truth be told, it really doesn’t get much better than this either.

If you don’t like vermouth, I hope this drink will change your mind. It’s my recipe for the Manhattan, but it doesn’t stray too far from the blueprint. I use Peychaud here instead of Angostura because of how well they marry with the Absinthe. I use Orange Liqueur instead of Orange Bitters or Maraschino, because the latter two aren’t on our list. The original recipe called for 1/2 rye and 1/2 vermouth. The 50/50 rye:vermouth may be a bit much vermouth for modern palates, so we’ll opt for the new standard of 2:1. It’s a drink that can be made on the fly (without the wait in the freezer), but, oh, it is good if you can wait that little extra step.


The Manhattan – Old Style

2.5 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters


The Manhattan may not be the first vermouth cocktail to have reared its head, but it certainly was among them. The accepted legend tells us that the drink had its inception at New York’s Manhattan Club in 1874, at a dinner honoring Governor Tilden’s election. The banquet was supposedly hosted by none other than Jenine Jerome — yes, the Jenine Jerome. What? Name doesn’t ring a bell? Ah, that’s because Mrs. Jerome’s fame was ultimately overshadowed by that of her son. Of him, you’ve probably heard. His name was Winston Churchill. But the young bulldog was being born over in England at roughly the same time as Tilden’s celebration (we’ll assume his mother was present), so this story has a difficult time holding water. Another story tells of a bartender named Black who operated a joint in the Bowery. But, let’s face it — “The Bowery” isn’t a very good name for a drink. Finally, other accounts put the drink’s invention right back at the Manhattan Club in the 1880s, where it belongs. Let’s leave it there.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this drink. I’ve made it with bourbon as well, and there just is no comparison. So, if you’ve got the bottles and you’re still looking for your signature cocktail, give this Manhattan a whirl — I think you’ll be more than glad that you did.


A Bit ‘o Fun: Speaking of Winston Churchill, here’s one of my favorite exchanges credited to the great man:

Lady Astor: “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”
Churchill: “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!”


17 responses to “The Manhattan

  1. WOW! Monster drink! Gonna take some getting used to. Also, I suspect I need to do better than whatever Vermouth is available at Pavilions.

  2. Gallo… it was the only thing they had, it was after 7pm on a sunday, and I was anxious to give the Manhattan a try

    • Head to Bevmo and get the Martini & Rossi — and some Dolin while you’re there. But, yes, the Manhattan is about as bold as a drink can get. It’s really a cold weather drink. But we’re doing vermouth now, so it is what it is.

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