Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Whatever Happened To Whisky's Greatest Diffusion: The Manhattan

For many whisky drinkers, there is no alternative. Personally I have tended to wholeheartedly agree with the exception of one instance. That instance is the Manhattan. A Manhattan is a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Commonly used whiskeys include rye (the traditional choice), Canadian whisky (simply called Rye in Canada), bourbon, blended whiskey and Tennessee whiskey. The cocktail is often stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass, where it is garnished with a Maraschino cherry with a stem.

Sound delicious? It certainly is. And yet, the drink has lost its once powerful status as a true iconic whisky cocktail. Popular history suggests that the drink originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet hosted by Jennie Jerome (Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston's mother) in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden.

The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated—"the Manhattan cocktail". The Manhattan was a real man's drink in the 60s. And it was not served in Martini glasses. In those days, they were poured into short, heavy glasses called whiskey sour glasses.

Today, when uttering the very name Manhattan, along with its presentation, the drink is often dismissed as the girly or pussy drink of our times. Even bartenders themselves have false conceptions of this classic icon. At some bars they will serve it to you with pineapple and a tropical umbrella. However, I implore readers to denounce such practices. Order a Manhattan in a whiskey sour glass and skip the fruit unless you like the cherries.

If your at an establishment that cooks chicken wings, which I'm sure you will be, order ones with a lightly glazed sweet sauce. You will surly be rewarded.     

1 comment:

  1. Nice summation of the "Manhattan" ethos.