The Manhattan is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The origin of the Manhattan is a bit cloudy, but popular history suggests that it first appeared around 1870 at the Manhattan Club in New York City. The name stuck, and the Manhattan remained a popular drink throughout the decades, further immortalized by the Rat Pack—a band of formidable, professional drinkers secondarily known for their music and movies.
Some bartenders use American whiskey or bourbon in Manhattans, and sometimes, inexcusably, craft the drink without bitters, but the drink is traditionally made with rye whiskey and should contain bitters. I’m a fan of Rittenhouse Rye and Sazerac 6-year, but experimenting with ryes and various bitters—like Angostura, orange bitters and Peychaud’s—can result in many tasty Manhattans with subtle differences.
2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Drop in the cherry.