|Written by Eileen Forster Keck|
I’ll take [a] Manhattan.
The Manhattan cocktail is one of the cornerstones of the classics. There are several tales as to its origins, but one of the most pleasing involves the socialite Jenny Jerome. In 1874, she threw a bash at the Manhattan Club, and asked the bartender to create a special drink to toast the guest of honor (Samuel J. Tildon, a presidential candidate). Liking the end result, she christened it the Manhattan, after its place of birth.
(Miss Jerome would become Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston—himself a noted admirer of brandy and champagne, among other potables.)
The Manhattan originally consisted of rye whiskey, sweet (Italian) vermouth, and orange bitters. Today it’s more commonly made with bourbon; the orange bitters (not so easy to find now) is replaced with Angostura bitters. When made with Scotch, it becomes a Rob Roy, and if the vermouth is half sweet and half dry, the drink is a Perfect Manhattan.
Rye whiskey is more of a Canadian product these days. One of Prohibition’s lasting legacies was the near demise of American rye whiskey—the industry never quite recovered, and Canada stepped in to fill the breach.
Shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker half-full of clean ice. Strain out into a stemmed cocktail glass and (if you wish) garnish with a Maraschino cherry, stemmed. Sip...as if you had to be told!