Classic: this Manhattan recipe is simple, and spot on


The Manhattan recipe, much like many other cocktails that have gone down in history as staples to be savoured over the generations, has a murky origin story. But one thing’s for certain when it comes to bar room tales: most often they’re wrong.

And that’s the case with the Manhattan’s own fabled story. So, no, it wasn’t Winston Churchill’s ma who first invented the Manhattan in 1874 at the Manhattan Club in New York. She was all of 20 at the time, and out of the country.

It likely does, however, come from the 1870’s or so — with a mention in print coming in 1882 — and is of a piece with the Martinez and the Turf Club cocktail, which all came about around the same time.

The Manhattan, as we’ve written before, is one of our favourite drinks around the office at Australian Bartender, and it’s because of this marriage between whiskey and vermouth, the strong and the bitter and the sweet, all composed in one chilled glass and waiting just for you to down it.


Complex, more than the same of its simple parts, it’s the elevated and more elegant cousin to the Old Fashioned — which, if you ask us, looks rather drab in comparison.

Take a look at the specs below.

Manhattan recipe

  • 60ml Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 30ml sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters

Stir down all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, or a cherry.


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