​Manhattan Project: How to Make a Perfect Manhattan

Food & Drink

There is an old myth that the island of Manhattan was sold for $24 guilders in 1636 to Peter Minuit. It was actually closer to $60, so it wasn’t that great of a deal. Especially when you consider it came with part ownership of the New York Knicks, one could argue Minuit got swindled. Interestingly, today $60 will by you about 3.5 Manhattan cocktails on the island of Manhattan (not including tip). And we are here to tell you that it’s money well spent, because the Manhattan remains a criminally under-ordered beverage, and we are here to help you enjoy it properly. Let’s begin with the mixology.

What to use:
3 oz. Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz. Extra Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
A dash of Regan’s Orange No. 6 bitters
2 Luxardo maraschino cherries
1 lemon peel

How to use it:
Place ice into a cocktail glass and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, add ice and then combine three parts rye whiskey with one part extra dry vermouth. Add the orange bitters. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Strain the entire mixture into the cocktail glass. Garnish with two cherries and the zest of the lemon peel. Sit back. Relax. Imagine yourself in a leather club chair looking out a window over your vast estate. Now you are a Manhattanite. Embrace the feeling!

If you sidle up to your local watering hole to order a Manhattan, folks around you may jump to conclusions about who exactly you are. They may think you’re an undercover aristocrat, since the Manhattan cocktail was invented at a banquet in New York hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph. They may think you’re a Dane or a German, since the Manhattan is the most popular drink on the Frisian Island of Fohr in the North Sea. Some might think you have a checkered past, especially if you order it with Canadian whiskey, which is what drinkers skirting the law had to do during Prohibition. Others will no doubt decide you are an epicurean, which may be closest to the truth. Because what other cocktail offers the same combination of spirits, bitters and garnish in such a crisp and fashionable way? When you hold a Manhattan, you look like someone who knows how to enjoy a proper cocktail.

Although the Manhattan was invented in late 1800s, it has remained a quintessential choice for refined drinkers. For more than 150 years, it’s been regularly imbibed by the young and old. Perhaps that’s because the classic Manhattan cocktail recipe is loosely known and left to the discretion of the mixer. It can be made with rye, bourbon or whiskey. The vermouth can be heavy or light. The bitters can announce themselves instantly or be light in flavor. A crafty cocktailer can even concoct his or her own bitters to infuse even more distinct flavors.

It may also be because the Manhattan looks beautiful in a cocktail glass. It can vary from pale red to an amber hue. It can be accompanied by a cherry or a twist. It can be straight up or icy. The Manhattan has even spawned numerous spin-offs:

The Brooklyn
Made with a maraschino instead of vermouth and a dash of Capri Sun, which is considered an ironic hipster juice in Brooklyn

The Rob Roy
Just use Scotch instead of whiskey or rye.

The Metropolitan
A perfect 3-to-1 ration of brandy and vermouth.

The Manhattan and its disciples are both versatile and timeless, making it the perfect choice for a person of luxurious tastes. We’ve recently launched a crate dedicated to another old-school cocktail. Who knows…may the Manhattan will be next.