The Manhattan; The 1860’s Tincture Fashionable Still
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New Year’s Day celebrations call for a toast of some libation or another. A friend from the UK who recently visited was kind enough to gift me a basket filled with all the necessaries for a Bourbon Whiskey variation of the Manhattan. Right down to a tiny jar of Maraschino cherries and a cocktail spoon, the wicker basket had everything cradled inside except Toto.



Long after my friend departed, I was still mastering the mixation so to speak; A Manhattan is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet Vermouth, and  Angostura bitters. The cocktail is usually stirred then strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a Maraschino cherry. I prefer two cherries – I don’t know, it’s just a ‘thing.’

The history of the Manhattan is blurred. In fact, if any readers were inclined to shed light beyond what I know to print here, weigh in. The one thing most agree on is the round about age of this concoction, generally dating to the 1860’s or very shortly thereafter. Later, during Prohibition, the Manhattan gained great popularity, maybe for no other reason than its ingredients were forbidden. Regardless, I have become quite smart at correctly proportioning my liquors to my bitters, and am only too happy to share here in time for New Year’s. After all, nearly every one of us will ring in midnight to “Auld Lang Syne” so only fitting to match the mirth with the memories. 



Ingredients for A Classic Manhattan Cocktail


2 ounces Bourbon Whiskey

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes Angostura bitters

2-3 cocktail cherries or Maraschino cherries

1/2 Tablespoon of syrup from the cherries (optional, but worth experimenting)

The Method


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice

Add bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and cherry syrup (if using)

Stir for 90 seconds – note here that the perfect Manhattan is always stirred, never shaken

Strain into a martini glass, or in my case, a sexy 1920’s Marie Coupe

Garnish with cherries



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