Manhattan Cocktail

It has been suggested that the Manhattan originated at the Manhattan Club in New York in the early 1870s. Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mother, hosted a banquet in honour of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden, and it was at this successful event that the cocktail became popular. People then requested the drink by referring to the name of the club, “the Manhattan cocktail”.

Although others have found prior references to similar cocktail recipes called Manhattan and served in the Manhattan area, it was Lady Randolph Churchill’s banquet that made the recipe famous as the Manhattan cocktail.

The Recipe

This recipe serves 1

  • 2 measures rye whisky (bourbon, Canadian or Tennessee whisky can also be used)
  • 1 measure sweet vermouth
  • 1 measure dry vermouth
  • A dash of Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: orange peel and a cocktail cherry

Add all the ingredients plus ice into a mixing glass and stir until chilled, making sure not to cloud the drink. Place the cherry into a chilled martini glass and strain the cocktail over the cherry, finally, rub the orange peel around the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink.


  • For a dry Manhattan use 2 measures of rye whisky, 1 measure of dry vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters.
  • For a sweet Manhattan use 2 measures of rye whisky, 1 measure of sweet vermouth and a dash of orange bitters.
  • The Angostura bitters can be replaced by orange bitters or you can use juice from the cherry jar for additional sweetness, some just leave out the bitters all together.
  • A Cuban Manhattan has dark rum as its main ingredient.
  • A Latin Manhattan is made with equal parts white rum, sweet and dry vermouth and a slash of cherry juice.

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