When it comes to venerable, vermouth-aided cocktails, most experts believe that the Manhattan predates them all — even its cousin, the martini — to sometime in the 1800s.
Although one story claims that the drink was invented at the Manhattan Club, a 1923 book called the Valentine’s Manual of New York (check out the original text here) states it was “invented by a man named Black, who kept a place 10 doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen-] sixties — probably the most famous drink in the world in its time.”
The cocktail, which is a potent mix of whiskey, vermouth and bitters, has dozens of variations. Some prefer bourbon while others swear by rye whiskey, and of course there’s much debate about whether to shake or stir, and whether or not a maraschino cherry is acceptable when pitted cherries aren’t on hand.
Our verdict: Stop squabbling and be an equal-opportunity Manhattan drinker, because they’re all delicious. Start by mixing a classic Manhattan, demoed in the video below, and then move on to an easy riff from The Intoxicologist.
1½ oz. bourbon
½ oz. Amaretto
¼ oz. maraschino cherry Juice
Cherry and orange slice, for garnish
Place liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Stir or shake according to preference until completely chilled. Strain into chilled martini glass or serve over fresh ice in rocks glass. Garnish with skewered cherry and orange slice.