Manhattan cocktail

Jack Manhattan

A Tennessee take on a New York classic.

What's in a Manhattan?

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How to make it

  1. 1/2 fill a cocktail mixing glass with cubed ice

  2. Add all ingredients and stir for 10 seconds

  3. Rub the orange peel around the rim of a chilled cocktail glass

  4. Strain the liquid into the glass

  5. Add dark cherry to garnish 

Where was the Manhattan cocktail invented?

Though the true origin of the Manhattan cocktail is unknown, like the mysterious origins of many other pre-prohibition cocktails, there are two popular theories. 


One story claims that the mother of Winston Churchill, Lady Randolph Churchill, asked for the cocktail to be created while hosting a banquet in the early 1880s at the New York-based Manhattan Club. This unique cocktail was so popular that it was aptly named after the club and became known as the Manhattan cocktail.


This myth came to a bitter end once it became known that Lady Randolph Churchill was actually pregnant in London and far from hosting banquets in New York.


Another story is the cocktail’s invention being attributed to a mysterious bartender named ‘black’ in 1960s Manhattan. This claim originates from bartender William F. Mulhall, in Valentine's Manual of New York, which is an esteemed reference book that documents a wealth of information about New York.


What's the difference between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned?

Both the Manhattan and Old Fashioned share the same base of whiskey (either bourbon or rye), mixed with Angostura bitters, which makes them similar. While a Manhattan is usually combined with rye whiskey, an Old Fashioned tends to be mixed with bourbon.


The second, and most important, difference between both drinks is the way that sweetness is infused. The Manhattan cocktail is mixed with the more subtle sweet vermouth wine, whereas the Old Fashioned is combined with a sugar cube, which makes it strikingly sweet in comparison.


One last - and often overlooked - difference is the type of glass you would serve each cocktail in. The Manhattan is paired best with the classic stemmed cocktail glass, also known as a martini glass, while an Old Fashioned is served best within its namesake glass, a short tumbler.