There is a widely reported false history behind this drink and it might have been purported by the club with the same name. Many believe this drink was created in the 1870’s by a Doctor who hosted a banquet at the Manhattan Club for Churchhill’s mother and other famous figures. However, there is absolutely no literature in association of this party and the drink. Here is an early printing of this drink:
Catalogue of the Brooklyn Library: Authors, titles, subjects, and …: Volume 1 – Page 1124 by Brooklyn Library, Stephen Buttrick Noyes in 1877
“A half century ago it was a famous watering place and the proprietor of one of its ancient hotels will today produce long clippings to show that the immortal Manhattan cocktail was invented in his hostelry by a distraught southerner”
Perhaps, this southerner did not create the cocktail at Manhattan Club, so the club took it upon itself to claim this drink their owns. This is the oldest story related to this drink to date, so it is most likely the most accurate. There are very few conflicts as to what this drink contains. Here is an early printing:
Jennie June’s American cookery book, containing upwards of twelve … – Page 400 by Jane Cunningham Croly in 1878
“”Manhattan Cocktail, No. 1. ” No. 2″
It appears the No.2 Version was phased out by the 20th century and may have been forgotten long before that. This drink was certainly created in manhattan, aside from this it is difficult to determine and exact location. This drink contents seem to have held steady through the years, which is uncommon of cocktails.
Rye whiskey would have certainly been the whiskey of choice during this time, however, this drink is often made with all sorts of different whisk(e)ys. Most commonly this drink is made with bourbon today, although, all early literature would indicate it was originally rye.
Many believe that this drink was originally served in a cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry, however, cherries were very uncommon in bars at this time and the lemon twist was a much more popular garnish, as was the orange peel. Although it is important to note that very little early literature indicates any type of garnish.
This drink dates between 1865 – 1875 and contained at least as of then:
Stir these ingredients:
Italian Vermouth (Sweet Vermouth)
Simple Syrup (Modern)
Lemon Twist or Maraschino Cherry (Modern)
Strain into an ice filled old fashioned glass or chilled cocktail glass.