How to make a Manhattan

If you’re going to ask us for the best cocktail to make with our Oxford Rye Whisky, then you’ve landed on the right page; the Manhattan is very high up the list.

The first written record of the Manhattan cocktail surfaced in 1882 in an article by New York’s Sunday Morning Herald. This detailed the three ingredients of the cocktail (Whisky, Vermouth, and bitters) as well as referring to the drink as a Manhattan, but like with all cocktails of a distant era, the origin of the Manhattan is a bit of a mystery.

There are two popular theories; the first is that it was invented at a party by Dr Ian Marshall for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother, a US born socialite renowned for her vivacious lifestyle. The second is linked to the 1923 book Valentine’s Manual of New York. This was an annual publication documenting change in New York, from legislative news to illustrations and maps. This text stated a gentleman named Black, who lived near a New York bar named Hoffman House, was responsible for the Manhattan’s invention.

There have been variations to the recipe over the years and our own take showcases our fifth batch of Oxford Rye Whisky, Red Red Rye, to perfection. Red Red Rye lends itself to a Manhattan due its complexity. We like to think of this whisky release as the result of a love affair between our heritage grains, New American Oak, and the three legendary sweet wine casks we used in the blend; a Pedro Ximenez Butt and two Vintage Port barriques. Using this whisky in a three-ingredient cocktail enhances the nuances, rather than overwhelming them, making the ideal aperitif.

Manhattan Ingredients

  • 50ml Oxford Rye Whisky Red Red Rye (or any Oxford Rye Whisky)
  • 25ml Antica Formula or Punt é Mes
  • 3 drops of orange bitters - Reagan's No 6
  • One thick piece of orange rind
  • Garnish: Maraschino cherry

Manhattan step-by-step recipe

  1. Add the whisky, vermouth and orange bitters to a mixing glass.
  2. Fill with ice, stir for 25 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe.
  4. Peal a thick piece of orange rind, then express the oils over the top of the glass and discard.
  5. Drop in a Maraschino cherry with a bar spoon of the liquid or rest one across the top of the drink using a cocktail stick (never forget to add a bar spoon of the juice!).
How to make a Daiqui-Rye
How to make a Dam Sloe Spritz

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