Drinks

The Martini Cocktail: Deconstructing a Classic. Part 3: The Manhattan Cocktail

With the Manhattan Cocktail, a new type of cocktail appears as a further development of the Vermouth Cocktail. The main ingredient is no longer just one spirit, but two: vermouth and whiskey. The following will show how varied and diverse the Manhattan Cocktail can be.

Due to its size, this paper on the Martini Cocktail is published in several parts, as follows:

As we have established, the Manhattan Cocktail originated from the Vermouth Cocktail by adding whiskey. Since whiskey was by far the most popular spirit of the time in the USA, the Manhattan Cocktail is also the second vermouth cocktail that we find printed. It is mentioned for the first time in “The Olean Democrat” of 3 September 1882, where it says:

„It is but a short time since that mixture of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters came into vogue. It went under various names – Manhattan cocktail, Turf Club cocktail, and Jockey Club cocktail. Bartenders at first were sorely puzzled by what was wanted when it was demanded. But now they are fully cognized of its various aliases“.

In 1884, the Manhattan Cocktail appears in three books. Byron gives us two recipes in 1884:

Manhattan Cocktail, No. 1 (Byron 1884)

1 pony French vermouth. 1/2 pony whisky. 3 or 4 dashes Angostura bitters. 3 dashes gum syrup.

Manhattan Cocktail, No. 2 (Byron 1884)

2 dashes Curacoa. 2 dashes Angostura bitters. 1/2 wine-glass whisky. 1/2 wine-glass Italian vermouth. Fine ice; stir well and strain into a cocktail glass.

His Manhattan Cocktail No.1, despite the use of French vermouth – very unusual indeed in 1884 – can certainly pass for a Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail, his Manhattan Cocktail No. 2 for a Dry Fancy Manhattan Cocktail. Gibson’s 1884 recipe for a Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail is as follows:

Manhattan Cocktail (Gibson 1884)

2 or 3 dashes of gum syrup; 2 or 3 dashes of bitters; 1 wine glass of Italian vermouth; one wine glass of whisky. Fill the glass with ice; shake well; strain into a cocktail glass; squeeze the juice of lemon rind and serve.

Winter also publishes a Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail in 1884:

Manhattan Cocktail (Winter 1884)

(Use large bar glass.) Two or three dashes of Peruvian Bitters; One to two dashes of gum syrup; One-half wine glass of whiskey; One-half wine glass of Vermouth; Fill glass three-quarters full of fine shaved ice, mix well with a spoon, strain in fancy cocktail glass and serve.

Thomas’ recipe dates back to 1887:

Manhattan Cocktail (Thomas 1887)

(Use small bar-glass.) Take 2 dashes of Curaçoa or Maraschino. 1 pony of rye whiskey. 1 wine-glass of vermouth. 3 dashes of Boker‘s bitters. 2 small lumps of ice. Shake up well, and strain into a claret glass. Put a quarter of a slice of lemon in the glass and serve. If the customer prefers it very sweet use also two dashes of gum syrup.

His Manhattan Cocktail is a Dry Fancy or Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail, as desired, but he uses not only curaçao, but alternatively maraschino. Likewise, he explicitly calls for a Rye whiskey to be used. Another twist comes into play with Johnson in 1888:

Manhattan Cocktail (Johnson 1888)

(Use a lage bar glass.) Fill the glass up with ice; 2 or 3 dashes gum syrup; 1 or 2 dashes of Bitters; (Boker‘s genuine only); 1 dash of Curaçoa (or absinthe if required); 1/2 wine glass of Whiskey; 1/2 wine glass of Vermouth; stir up well, strain into a fancy cocktail glass, squeeze a piece of lemon peel on the top, and serve; leave it for the customer to decide whether to use Absinthe or not. This drink is very popular at the present day.

His Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail uses curaçao as the flavouring agent or absinthe as an alternative.

What exactly is a Manhattan Cocktail?

The first illustration of a Manhattan Cocktail from Harry Lamore's book "The Bartender or How to Mix Drinks" from 1888.
The first illustration of a Manhattan Cocktail from Harry Lamore’s book “The Bartender or How to Mix Drinks” from 1888.

As we can see, there are already several variants of the Manhattan Cocktail in the first five years of the written fixation. So what actually is a Manhattan Cocktail? What is the best way to define it? To better answer this question, it makes sense to first look at the different styles of the Manhattan Cocktail separately. When comparing them, it is less important to find differences than to establish what the various versions have in common. To do this, we divide the existing historical recipes into different categories (sweet, dry, extra dry / plain, fancy), which we first consider separately.

One question to ask in this context is what the “right” ingredients are. When “whiskey” is mentioned in the recipes, American whiskey is meant, and it can be either rye or bourbon. Both were equally popular before Prohibition. [1] Scotch and Irish whisky hardly played a role. A statistic from 1913 illustrates this: in that year, around 511 million litres of American whiskey were consumed on the American market, but only about 5.7 million litres of Scotch and Irish whiskey together. [2]

Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail

[1884 Byron: The Modern Bartenders‘ Guide]
1 pony [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 pony [15 ml] whiskey / 3-4 d Angostura bitters / 3 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail, No. 1)

[1884 Gibson: Scientific Bar-Keeping]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] Italian vermouth / 1 wine-glass [60 ml] whiskey / 2-3 d bitters / 2-3 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1884 Winter: How to Mix Drinks]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 2-3 d Peruvian bitters / 1-2 d sugar syrup (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1887 Paul: American and Other Iced Drinks]
1/2 liqueur-glass [15 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] Scotch whisky / 3-4 drops Angostura bitters / 3-4 drops sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1895 Bartenders’ Association of New York City: Official Hand-Book and Guide]
1 pony [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 pony [15 ml] whiskey / 3 d Caroni bitters / 2 d sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail No. 1)

[1895 Kappeler: Modern American Drinks]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] wiskey / 2 d Peychaud or Angostura bitters / 2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest or cherry. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1898 Anonymus: Cocktails]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Boker’s bitters / 2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1899 Larsen: Les Boissons Américaines]
1/2 Madeira glass [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/3 Madeira glass [20 ml] whiskey / 6 drops Angostura bitters / 2 coffeespoons [10 ml] sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Johnson: The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders‘ Manual]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters / 1-2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Maloney: The 20th Century Guide For Mixing Fancy Drinks]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters, 1-2 d Peychaud‘s bitters / 1 teaspoon [5 ml] sugar syrup. Lemon zest (stir in). (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Applegreen: Applegreen’s Barkeeper’s Guide]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Peychaud bitters / 1 d sugar syrup / lemon zest (stir in). (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Lowe: Drinks As They Are Mixed]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters / 1/2 barspoon [2,5 ml] sugar syrup / lemon zest (stir in) (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Stuart: Stuart’s Fancy Drinks]
1 pony [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 pony [15 ml] whiskey / 3-4 d Angostura bitters / 3 d sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail No. 1)

[1905 Anonymus: The Gorham Cocktail Book]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Boker‘s witters / 2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1911 Doménech: El Arte del Cocktelero Europeo]
1/2 Madeira glass [30 ml] [French] Noilly vermouth / 1/3 Madeira glass [20 ml] whiskey / 6 drops Angostura bitters / 2 teaspoon [10 ml] sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1911 Golfrin: Manual del Cantinero]
1/2 medium glass [30 ml] [French] Wermut from Marseille / 1/3 medium glass [20 ml] whiskey / 6 drops Angostura bitters, 2 teaspoons [10 ml] sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Considine: The Buffet Blue Book]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Abbott‘s bitters, 1 d orange Bitters / 1 d sugar syrup / lemon zest (stir in). (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Paul: American and Other Iced Drinks]
1/2 liqueur-glass [15 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] Scotch whisky / 3-4 drops Angostura bitters / 3-4 drops sugar syrup. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1913 Montague: The Up-To-Date Bartenders‘ Guide]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / lemon zest (stir in). (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1913 Schönfeld & Leybold: Lexikon der Getränke]
1/3 bottle French vermouth / 1/2 bottle Rye Whiskey / 1/2 liqueur glass Angostura bitters / 1 liqueur glass sugar syrup. Fill into bottles (Manhattan Cocktail III)

[1914 Mahoney & Montague: New Bartender’s Guide]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters / 2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1917 Ensslin: Recipes for Mixed Drinks]
1/3 [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters / 2 d sugar syrup. Garnish: cherry, lemon zest. (Sweet Manhattan Cocktail)

Conclusion: The preparation of a Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail differs slightly depending on whether it is made with Italian or French vermouth:

  • It very often consists of Italian vermouth and American whiskey, predominantly in equal proportions. Rarely, the proportion of whiskey is doubled. Sugar syrup and bitters are added. Angostura Bitters are frequently used, occasionally Peychaud’s Bitters or Orange Bitters. Lemon zest is predominantly used. It is frequently stirred in or (alternatively) very often used as a garnish. Occasionally, a cherry is also used as a garnish.
  • Occasionally, French vermouth is used instead of Italian, then with double or one-and-a-half times the vermouth; sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters are added. Sometimes it is garnished with a lemon zest.

To summarise: a Sweet Plain Manhattan cocktail very often consists of Italian vermouth, occasionally French vermouth, and whiskey, very often in equal proportions, sometimes with a higher proportion of vermouth, occasionally with a lower proportion. Sugar syrup and bitters are also added. Very often Angostura Bitters are used, occasionally Peychaud’s Bitters or Orange Bitters, sometimes other bitters. Sometimes a lemon zest is also stirred in. A lemon zest is frequently used as a garnish.

Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail = Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + sugar syrup (+ stirred lemon zest) (+ Garnish: lemon zest)

In his book “American and Other Iced Drinks”, Charlie Paul describes the Manhattan Cocktail as being made with Scotch whisky. His recipe from 1912, reproduced here, appeared identically in the 1902 edition of this book. We have read that this 1902 edition is supposed to be almost identical with the book “American and Other Drinks”, published in 1887, also by Charlie Paul. We now have this book, and the Manhattan recipe from 1887 also uses Scotch. This means that the Rob Roy can be proved to have first appeared for us in 1887, albeit under a different name. Since this is the second edition of the book, it would be interesting to now also obtain a copy of the first edition to look for the Manhattan Cocktail here as well.

Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail

[1887 Thomas: The Bar-Tender’s Guide]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker‘s bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Garnish: 1/4 lemon wheel. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1888 Johnson: New and Improved Illustrated Bartender’s Manual]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d Boker‘s bitters / 2-3 d sugar syrup / 1 d curaçao or optional absinthe. Garnish: lemon zest, orange zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1888 Lamore: The Bartender]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker’s bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Harnish: 1/4 lemon wheel. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1892 Schmidt: The Flowing Bowl]
1/3 drink [20 ml] vermouth / 2/3 drink [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 1 d absinthe, optional maraschino. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1895 Lawlor: The Mixicologist]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Schroeder’s bitters / 1/2 barspoon [2,5 ml] sugar syrup, 2 d maraschino. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1896 Schmidt: Fancy Drinks and Popular Beverages]
1/3 drink [20 ml] vermouth / 2/3 drink [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 1 d absinthe, optional maraschino. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1898 Haywood: Mixology]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d orange bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 1 d absinthe, 1 d curaçao. Garnish: cherry. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Johnson: The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders‘ Manual]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters / 1-2 d sugar syrup / 1 d curaçao or optional absinthe. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1911 Washburne & Bronner: Beverages De Luxe]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters / 1-2 d sugar syrup / 1 d curaçao or optional absinthe. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Mahoney: The Hoffman House Bartender’s Guide]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters / 1 d sugar syrup / 1 d curaçao (alternativ absinthe). Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Paul: American and Other Iced Drinks]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker’s bitters / 2 d sugar syrup / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Garnish: lemon zest. (Fancy Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Anonymus: Wehman Bros.‘ Bartenders‘ Guide]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d bitters / 2-3 d sugar syrup / 1 d curaçao or optional absinthe. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

Conclusion: A Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail consists of Italian vermouth and whiskey, very often in the same proportion, sometimes the vermouth or whiskey portion is doubled. Sometimes a rye whiskey is explicitly specified. Sugar syrup and bitters are also added. Boker’s Bitters (especially in older recipes) or Orange Bitters are frequently used, very rarely others, and sometimes the bitters to be used are not explicitly stated. Flavouring agents are also used, predominantly curaçao or absinthe, very often maraschino. Very often, it is garnished with a lemon zest, occasionally with a slice of lemon, very rarely with a cherry.

Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail = Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + sugar syrup + curaçao, absinthe, maraschino (+ garnish: lemon zest)

Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail

[1895 Kappeler: Modern American Drinks]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Peychaud or Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1898 Anonymus: Before & After Dinner Beverages]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1898 Anonymus: Cocktails]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Boker’s bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Newman: American-Bar]
[30 ml] Turin vermouth / [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Johnson: The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders‘ Manual]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1903 Daly: Daly’s Bartender’s Encyclopedia]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: cherry oder olive. „One that is a dear and lasting friend to the Bohemians, and probably called for more extensively than any other morning favorite“ (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Newman: American-Bar]
[30 ml] Turin vermouth / [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Applegreen: Applegreen’s Barkeeper’s Guide]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 1 d Peychaud bitters / lemon zest (stirred). (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1905 Anonymus: The Gorham Cocktail Book]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Boker‘s bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1907 Newman: American-Bar]
[30 ml] Turin vermouth / [30 ml] Rye whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. Cherry or olive. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1909 Seutter: Der Mixologist]
1/2 Cocktailglas [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 cocktail glass [30 ml] American whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest, cherry. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1910 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual]
50% [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 50% [30 ml] rye whiskey / 1 d Boker’s bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 E.J.M.: Great American Cocktail]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] M.&R. vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] 365 rye whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Boothby: The World’s Drinks]
1/2 jigger [30 ml ] Italian vermouth/ 1/2 jigger [30 ml] Bourbon whiskey / 2 d orange Bitters, 2 drops Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1913 Schönfeld & Leybold: Lexikon der Getränke]
1/2 cocktail glass [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 cocktail glass [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest, cherry. (Manhattan Cocktail I)

[1913 Schönfeld & Leybold: Lexikon der Getränke]
1/2 Glas [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1 liqueur glass [15 ml?] whiskey / 4 d Bols bitters. Garnish: lemon zest, cherry. (Manhattan Cocktail II)

[1913 Straub: A Complete Manual of Mixed Drinks]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Martini & Rossi vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] Green River whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1913 Straub: A Complete Manual of Mixed Drinks]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Martini & Rossi vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] Green River whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters / orange peel (shaken). (Manhattan, Jr., Cocktail)

[1914 Straub: Drinks]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] Bourbon / 1 d Angostura bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1914 Straub: Drinks]
1/3 jigger [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 jigger [40 ml] Bourbon / 1 d Angostura bitters / orange peel (shaken). (Manhattan, Jr., Cocktail)

[1916 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual]
50% [30 ml] M.&R. Italian vermouth / 50% [30 ml] rye whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1916 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual]
50% [30 ml] M.&R. Italian vermouth / 50% [30 ml] rye whiskey / 1 d Angostura bitters / orange zest (shaken) (Manhattan Jr. Cocktail)

[1917 Ensslin: Recipes for Mixed Drinks]
1/3 [20 ml] Italian vermouth / 2/3 [40 ml] whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: olive, lemon zest. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail.

Conclusion: A Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail consists of Italian vermouth and whiskey. Sometimes a rye whiskey is explicitly requested, frequently a bourbon whiskey, but very often the type of whiskey is not specified. Very often vermouth and whiskey are in the same proportion, frequently (especially in younger recipes) the whiskey proportion is doubled. Bitters are also added. Predominantly these are Angostura Bitters (especially in younger recipes), rarely Boker’s Bitters, sometimes other bitters. Rarely, an orange zest is stirred in. A lemon zest is very often used as a garnish, sometimes a cherry, rarely an olive.

Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail = Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters (+ garnish: lemon zest, cherry)

Dry Fancy Manhattan Cocktail

[1884 Byron: The Modern Bartenders‘ Guide]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters / 2 d curaçao. (Manhattan Cocktail, No. 2)

[1887 Thomas: The Bar-Tender’s Guide]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker‘s bitters / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Garnish: 1/4 lemon wheel. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1888 Lamore: The Bartender]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker’s bitters / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Garnish: 1/4 lemon wheel. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1895 Bartenders’ Association of New York City: Official Hand-Book and Guide]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Caroni bitters / 2 d curaçao. (Manhattan Cocktail No. 2)

[1896 Fouquet: Bariana]
[30 ml] Turin vermouth / [30 ml] rye Whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters / 2 d crème de noyaux, 3 d curaçao. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1900 Johnson: The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders‘ Manual]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] whiskey / 1-2 d orange bitters / 1 d curaçao or optional absinthe. Garnish: lemon zest. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1904 Stuart: Stuart’s Fancy Drinks]
1/2 wine-glass [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 1/2 wine-glass [30 ml ] whiskey / 2 d Angostura bitters / 2 d curaçao. (Manhattan Cocktail No. 2)

[1906 Muckensturm: Louis‘ Mixed Drinks]
1 liqueur-glass [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 2 liqueur-glasses [60 ml] rye whiskey / 2 d orange bitters, 1 d Angostura bitters / 1 d curaçao. (Manhattan Cocktail)

[1910 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual]
50% [30 ml] Italian vermouth / 50% [30 ml] rye whiskey / 1 d bitters / 1 d maraschino. (Improved Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Paul: American and Other Iced Drinks]
1 wine-glass [60 ml] vermouth / 1 pony [30 ml] rye whiskey / 3 d Boker’s bitters / 2 d curaçao or maraschino. Garnish: lemon zest. (Fancy Manhattan Cocktail)

[1916 Grohusko: Jack’s Manual]
50% [30 ml] M.&R. Italian vermouth / 50% [30 ml] rye Whiskey / 1 d bitters / 1 d maraschino. (Improved Manhattan Cocktail)

Conclusion: A Dry Fancy Manhattan Cocktail consists of Italian vermouth and whiskey. Very often a rye whiskey is explicitly requested, but frequently the type of whiskey is not specified. Very often vermouth and whiskey are in equal proportions, occasionally the vermouth portion is doubled in older recipes, occasionally the whiskey portion in younger recipes. Bitters are also added. These are frequently Angostura Bitters, sometimes Boker’s Bitters, occasionally the bitters are not explicitly specified. Very rarely, orange bitters or other bitters are used. In addition, flavouring agents are used, predominantly curaçao, very often maraschino. Sometimes it is garnished with a lemon zest, occasionally with a piece of lemon.

Dry Fancy Manhattan Cocktail = Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + curaçao, maraschino (+ Garnish: lemon zest)

Extra Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail

[1895 Kappeler: Modern American Drinks]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Peychaud or Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Extra Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1905 Anonymus: The Gorham Cocktail Book]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d Boker‘s bitters. Garnish: lemon zest. (Extra Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1906 Muckensturm: Louis‘ Mixed Drinks]
1 liqueur-glass [30 ml] French vermouth / 2 liqueur-glasses [60 ml] rye whiskey / 2 d orange bitters, 1 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest, stuffed Olive. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1909 Seutter: Der Mixologist]
1/2 cocktail glass [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 cocktail glass [30 ml] American whiskey / 3 d Angostura bitters. Garnish: lemon zest, olive. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

[1912 Boothby: The World’s Drinks]
1/2 jigger [30 ml] French vermouth / 1/2 jigger [30 ml] whiskey / 2 d orange bitters, 2 drops Angostura bitters / Garnish: lemon zest (stirred), olive. (Dry Manhattan Cocktail)

Conclusion: An Extra Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail consists of French vermouth and whiskey. Sometimes a rye whiskey is explicitly requested, but predominantly the type of whiskey is not specified. Predominantly vermouth and whiskey are used in equal proportions, sometimes the whiskey portion is doubled. Bitters are also used, predominantly Angostura Bitters, frequently Orange Bitters, sometimes Peychaud’s Bitters or Boker’s Bitters. Sometimes a lemon zest is stirred in. The garnish is predominantly a lemon zest, very often an olive.

Extra Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail = French vermouth + whiskey + bitters (+ stirred lemon zest) (+ garnish: lemon zest, olive)

Summary

We have found:

Sweet Plain Manhattan Cocktail

Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + sugar syrup (+ stirred lemon zest) (+ garnish: lemon zest)

Sweet Fancy Manhattan Cocktail

Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + sugar syrup + curaçao, absinthe, maraschino (+ garnish: lemon zest)

Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail

Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters (+ garnish: lemon zest, cherry)

Dry Fancy Manhattan Cocktail

Italian vermouth + whiskey + bitters + curaçao, maraschino (+ garnish: lemon zest)

Extra Dry Plain Manhattan Cocktail

French vermouth + whiskey + bitters (+ stirred lemon zest) (+ garnish: lemon zest, olive)

If you look at all the recipes together, you come to the following conclusion: A Manhattan cocktail consists predominantly of Italian vermouth, occasionally French, and whiskey. Sometimes rye whiskey is explicitly called for. Very often vermouth and whiskey are in equal proportions, sometimes the whiskey portion is doubled, rarely the vermouth portion. Angostura Bitters are very often used as bitters, occasionally Boker’s Bitters or Orange Bitters. Sugar syrup makes the Manhattan Cocktail sweet. If you want it to be fancy, curaçao is very often used, frequently maraschino, sometimes absinthe. A lemon zest is rarely stirred in. Predominantly, the cocktail is garnished, very often with lemon zest, rarely with cherry, very rarely with an olive or a piece of lemon. The general formula for a Manhattan Cocktail is:

Manhattan Cocktail

Vermouth + whiskey + bitters (+ sugar syrup) (+ curaçao, maraschino, absinthe) (+ stirred lemon zest) (+ garnish: lemon zest, cherry, olive)

Numerous variations can be derived from this – and that is precisely what makes the Manhattan successful. It can be adapted in many ways and in its further development forms the basis of numerous other cocktails. This is why it can be considered a key cocktail alongside the Martini Cocktail. But next, the Martinez Cocktail appears on the world stage. In the next part, we will analyse what makes it tick.

Sources
  1. http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.de/2014/06/chris-middleton-on-myth-of-pre.html: Chris Middleton on the ‘Myth’ of Pre-Prohibition Rye Prominence, 19. June 2014.
  2. http://fortune.com/2012/06/24/whiskey-and-america-a-post-prohibition-reunion-fortune-1933/: Whiskey and America: A post-prohibition reunion (Fortune, 1933), 24. June 2012.
Further reading
  1. Anistatia Miller & Jarred Brown: Der Manhattan. In: Mixology 3/2009, page 40-42.
  2. Anistatia Miller & Jarred Brown: Spirituous Journey. A History of Drink. Book Two: From Publicans to Master Mixologists. ISBN 978-1-907434-06-8. London, Mixelany, 2009.

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About

Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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