The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by writer & photographer Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 31; Trust Me, You Can Dance; Vol 5

The cocktail they loved so much they named it twice.  Actually, that is false, but it is named, in the most popular story, after the club it was created in, so a simple beginning.  It is one for the whiskey drinkers, it is of course the city of all cocktails, The Manhattan.

The Manhattan has been heard of by many but I feel it is a cocktail not as popular as it once was, it is on the Negroni side of the taste spectrum and a one up on an Old Fashioned.  But The Manhattan is just as old as many cocktails, created in the 1870’s in the club of the same name. But variations of the mix have been reported in New York prior with a bartender named Black in 1860, but to be honest the story of this one can’t even mention the bar and is very vague from a few sources.  The cocktail was also named in David A. Emburys book ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’ in 1948 and was one of the six basic drinks and basic it is.

As a cocktail it is a basic which anyone could make and add to your surely growing repertoire.  The drink consists of;

Rye Whiskey 5cl
Sweet Vermouth 2cl
A dash of Angostura bitters

Stirred over ice and strained into a cocktail glass and the garnish is a Maraschino cherry.  It is an aperitif and should always be enjoyed at this time. It has also become custom to serve over ice in a lowball glass very similar to the look of a Negroni and no one will frown upon you having it this way.

Like many cocktails it has many variations, but unlike most that become a different cocktail, these are still Manhattans, a 'Black Manhattan' is Averna instead of Vermouth, 'Brandy Manhattan' coming out of Minnesota a 'Dry Manhattan' the list goes on but always classed as a Manhattan.  My favourite is the 'Perfect Manhattan', like the Negroni it is made with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth and hits that woody and dry spot perfectly. I am not a whiskey or Bourbon drinker, it simply doesn't sit well on my tastes but this makes it something different and removes what I don’t like about the base.

With little ingredients and not one to take a chemistry degree to mix, it really is one for winter nights, before sitting down and having a perfectly cooked steak.  It will freshen before sitting with that bottle of red.