Talk:Manhattan (cocktail)

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The information box at right stated that it was made with "Canadian whiskey" - but there is no such beverage. If it is Canadian or Scotch, it is whisky, not whiskey.

J. P. Morgan[edit]

If someone doesn't cite the J. P. Morgan thing, I'm removing it. The only references I can find are copies of this article. There is one original piece of work that references it, but by the way that work was written (and the fact that it was written after the factoid was added to the article), it seems pretty clear that the author used this article for most of his research. That worries me even more, because I don't want to end up creating facts out of thin air. --The Yar 16:29, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I removed it. --The Yar 19:55, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


Can someone cite some kind of reference regarding the story about the creation of the drink being false?

Yeah, and provide what the real back story is?

Dave Wondrich, an editor of Esquire, in a Fox News article on May 22, 2006 [1], is quoted thusly:

At least one famous cocktail — the Manhattan — had its origin in a Democratic club. It was the toast of the Manhattan Club around 1880.

The Cocktail Times Web site[2], in it's history section[3] and recipe section[4] give its history as follows:

Manhattan was invented in the late 19th century when socialite Jenny Jerome asked a bartender to mix a special cocktail for elected Governor of New York, Samuel J. Tilden at the Manhattan Club in New York City. And the cocktail was named after the bar.

However, there's this from the American Dialect Society's LISTSERV[5]

From the BUCKEYE TAVERN, "Patrick Murphy's The Barman's Corner," 15 March 1945, pg. 6, col. 2
From out of Manhattan last week came data from Ed Gibbs, one of the trade's 'way-back-when columnist and now a publisher and newsletter writer (Gibbs once wrote for the BUCKEYE TAVERN--ed.), to the effect that the Manhattan Cocktail has a definite date of origin. If so, this will be one of the very few cocktails which can be nailed down as to time and place of birth. The Gibbs' version, which in turn is from sources he labels as his "research department," declares that on a memorable December 29, 1874, evening at the Manhattan Club, "in the old A. T. Stewart Mansion--now the Empire State Blg.," a testimonial dinner was held in honor of Samuel J. Tilden. This is the Tilden, history-wise readers will recall, who received a majority vote of the U. S. A. when Presidential candidate, but was defeated by the electoral college set-up. Official notes on the banquet alluded to declare that the dinner was preceded by a drink made of "American Whiskey, Italian Vermouth and Angostura Bitters." It proved so popular that club members asked for it again and again, hence became known as the Manhattan Cocktail.
This reads well but we must remain a bit dubious. For instance, it is quite probable that the drink was served before that December 29th evening in the Manhattan clubrooms--it may have been the house drink of several years. And old bar guides, one that we have being originally printed in 1860, list many a Manhattan Cocktail, so the name antedates the event Mr. Gibbs speaks of. (What bar guide is this?--ed.) Many early Manhattans called for a dash of this or that - absinthe, or orange bitters or even curacao. Harry Johnson stipulated a twist of lemon peel as the garnish, back in the 1870's, in contrast to today's maraschino cherry garnish. The drink was evidently a vermouth and whiskey combination, but had local variations.

--The Yar 19:55, 1 June 2006 (UTC)


Why does the article say a manhattan is a cousin of a martini? they seem very dissimilar to me. they're both alcoholic, and both cold, but that's about it as far as I'm concerned.... Hayford Peirce 21:29, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Because they are both made with liquor, vermouth, and a garnish, stirred and shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. The drink is often presented as the whiskey verison of a martini. It's fine to leave out "cousin," but "aura" is not the right word there. --The Yar 20:19, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
It's hard to think of two liquours more dissimilar than gin and, say, Canadian. And dry vermouth is nothing like sweet vermouth. The only "cousin" reference I could find to the two of them was in WP. But I agree that "aura" wasn't the right word. But I wasn't sure of the "popularity" issue either. Are there any figures for the numbers of each drink consumed, say, in North America. Hayford Peirce 03:14, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Almost every reference I find for a manhattan compares it to a martini somehow.[6] The glass you serve it in is often called a martini glass,[7] which is a testament to both of your above issues. In the wider world of beers, wines, frozen drinks, etc., a manhattan and a martini are very similar. Your average bar patron would probably see them as a brown and clear version of each other. But whatever, "cousin" certainly isn't necessary in the article. As for popularity, the quick and crude evidence I can give is that "martini cocktail" returns about three times as many results as "manhattan cocktail" in a Google search, even considering that the latter is arguably a more natural way to refer to the respective drink than is the former.[8] If I find a more respectable citation, I'll include it in the article. --The Yar 20:12, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I've found all kinds of conflicting stats. This one is probably the clearest.[9] How about "recognition" instead of "popularity"? --The Yar 20:19, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think "recognition" does the trick. Although "popularity" is fine too. My personal impression is that people drank far more manhattans forty or 50 years ago than they do today. (And martinis, too, of course.) My mother, who was basically a scotch and soda drinker, would sometimes order a "scotch manhattan" in a dim little steakhouse we used to go. I still see people order martinis (frequently "vodka martinis", of course), but I haven't seen anyone order a manhattan in years. On the other hand, I don't sit at many bars these days.... Hayford Peirce 21:12, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I order them all the time, and make a killer one at home. Why do you think I contribute to this article so much? --The Yar 15:35, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, I figured that was the case. I had a couple of leftover bottles of Crown Royal that I wanted to use up, so I tried them out in Manhattans, which I had never tasted before, and liked the result. I've tried other liquours but like the Crown Royal the best. I've also tried different ratios. I use 2 Crown Royal for 1 Martini & Rossi and, for a double Manhattan with 3 oz Crown Royal 1/2 teaspoon bitters. Shake it with ice cubes, then generally pour it over more ice cubes and a cherry. Hayford Peirce 17:34, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Great! I hope you stick with it. I prefer Jack Daniel's with M&R, roughly 3:1, and a dash or two of Angostura bitters, shaken vigorously with ice, and strained, straight-up, in a clean (i.e., no maraschino juice or anything) cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry in the bottom. --The Yar 20:16, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm gonna have to buy some more Crown Royal. In the meantime, I found a large bottle of Jack Daniels gathering dust and I've made two Manhattans with it. One at 3:1 as per your own and last night 2:1 as I had been doing with the Canadian. I *think* I prefer the 2:1. When I get the Crown Royal I'll make three different drinks and ratios and try to compare them all while I'm still capable of doing so. Will report on the results. By the way, do you *really* think the age of the M&R makes any appreciable difference? Hayford Peirce 18:14, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

(reset indents) Yeah, I go anywhere from 2:1 to 4:1, which is why I say "roughly." As for aging, I think aging is grossly overrated across all spirits. If the spirit is being aged in a container that adds particular influence, such as the barrels that JD is aged in, then aging up to four years provides some character. Other than or beyond that, it's all in your head. I just like M&R. --The Yar 14:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

By aging, I meant what I *thought* I had read in this article but must have been on some Intenet site about Manhattans -- whoever wrote it said that the M&R must be *fresh*, not old, that it deteriorated in quality and flavor as it aged. I gotta say that I've been drinking M&R off and on for maybe 47 years and this had never occurred to me before until I read this. I think it's nonsense, but one never knows and wanted to get your opinion.... Hayford Peirce 17:39, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Anecdotal: I did pull out a bottle of M&R one time that had been open for several weeks, and it did not taste right. I don't know about the effects of age on an unopened bottle, though. --The Yar 21:42, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I've just bought a new bottle of M&R (it has a strange new label compared to the gaudy old one I've been used to for 50 years or so). It is slightly lighter colored and less assertive in taste compared to what remains in my old M&R bottle, which, for all I know, may well be 15 years old. The taste is similar but less pronounced. I then made two identical Manhattans (2 Royal Crown to 1 M&R, a little bitters, shaken with ice, then poured over ice, 1 cherry), one with the old, one with the new. The new one was clearly lighter colored than the old one. Its taste was definitely less powerful. More delicate? More subtle? Both, I think. On the other hand, I preferred (by a narrow margin), the one made with the old M&R. But that may be simply because it was with the old stuff that I started making Manhattans a couple of months ago and that's what I'm accustomed to. It will all be academic, in any case, fairly shortly, when my 15-year-old bottle is exhausted and all future Manhattans will be made with the new stuff.... Hayford Peirce 05:08, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Bitters and Manhattans[edit]

IMO, a Manhattan without bitters is just plain wrong.

While Angostura is the typical addition, there are other types of bitters that also yield superb results. I tend to use two of five different bitters (but only one of the orange bitters at a time):

  • Angostura
  • Peychaud's
  • Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
  • Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
  • Regan's Orange Bitters

(Previous unsigned comment by

Sounds good. The recipe in the article only calls for "bitters." The specific mention of Angostura bitters is a quote from when the drink was invented. --The Yar 19:24, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm reverting the changes made on 12 April 2012 by, which removed bitters from the recipe, and claimed it is some sort of recent trend that popped up in the "last few years". I've got a 13 year-old bar guide that begs to differ, and have found older examples online in Google Books ("The Settlement Cook Book", 1970, republishing a 1903 edition). If the Manhattan truly does not contain bitters in its classic form, then someone needs to provide evidence of that. I haven't found any. --Guzzijason 02:37, 13 August 2012 (UTC)


I don't understand the implications of moving an article to Wikibooks. I'd like to see some dicussion about it here before we do anything. --The Yar 19:34, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, I for one am bitterly opposed. I *hate* this Wikibooks notion that some anal-retentives are using as an excuse to remove what seems like valuable material from Wikipedia on the basis that Wiki rules say that Wikipedia is not a do-it-yourself or instruction manual. On this basis, all the recipes for various kinds of mai tais were removed from the article. But the friggin' @#$%^&* who did that, *didn't* move them into a maitai article in the so-called Wiki cocktail book -- he just removed them. One of these days I'll have to go and get the recipes, then move them myself. But I feel angry about this. In the case of the Manhattan article, it would make even less sense. There are only 2 or 3 things that go into a Manhattan. To remove any discussion of proportions etc. would essentially mean removing the article. So I think we ought to fight this idea very very vigorously. Hayford Peirce 22:22, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I haven't gotten much feedback from the Wikipedian who suggested it, other than linking me back to WP documentation. I understand that this article needs to be about history, culture, etc., of the drink, and it is. --The Yar 14:44, 2 August 2006 (UTC)


We need a good image of a Manhattan for the article. I have found several, but they are all likely subject to copyright. There's one that seems to be on a lot of different sites, but that still doesn't mean it isn't under copyright. I won't have a chance to make an image myself any time soon, anyone else want to give it a shot? Try to take it against a white background or edit the photo to remove the background. --The Yar 14:42, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I can do it easily -- but I don't have a real, triangle-shaped "martini" glass. I could get one, I suppose. I have a couple of little, cut-crystal glasses that *I* call, probably mistakenly, Manhattan glasses.... Hayford Peirce 15:59, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
No cocktail glass? Blasphemy! Well, I'll make an image myself at some point in the next few weeks when I get a chance, but until then you need some real cocktail glasses. --The Yar 13:38, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
You've shamed me into it -- I'll go get a couple of them today! Hayford Peirce 16:31, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
I've got the glasses. I'll take some pix later today. Hayford Peirce 20:22, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Nice photo! --The Yar 21:32, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

"dry" vs. "sweet"[edit]

The first paragraph makes reference to a Manhattan being considered "sweet" or "dry" depending on how much sweet vermouth is used. I've never heard of a Manhattan being called "dry" because it had less sweet vermouth. A Dry Manhattan is made with dry vermouth, not a lesser quantity of sweet vermouth. Shouldn't this simply say that the ratio of whiskey to sweet vermouth can vary from 1:1 (more sweet) to 4:1 (less sweet)? Rickterp 04:52, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe it has to do with a Martini with very little white vermouth being called a "dry" Martini. But I agree that one would do best to simply ask for a "Manhattan, light on the vermouth" if that's what they're really looking for.--JD79 (talk) 22:53, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

rye vs. Canadian[edit]

After seeing the NYT article a couple of days ago about rye and the resurgence of "boutique" ryes selling for $50 to $100 I bought a bottle of Jim Beam Rye, one of the only two widely distributed ryes in the States today (the other, Old Overhold, is also made by Jim Beam). Tonight I made two Manhattans, one with Royal Crown (upscale Canadian), the other with the rye. In both cases I used 4 tablespoons whiskey and 2 tablespoons M.R. vermouth and 1/4 teaspoon Angostura Bitters. Shaken with ice, strained, garnished with 1 cherry. Both were delicious and easy to drink. I would say, however, that the rye version was "earthier" and had, as the wine-people would say, "herbal" tastes. The Canadian version was a trifle sweeter and, paradoxically, both smoother and sharper in flavor. If I had to choose between the two for a "One Drink For The Rest Of My Life", I would take the Royal Crown version.... Hayford Peirce 04:20, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Jim Beam is a terrible liquor. --The Yar 04:54, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Jim Beam isn't that bad as a base line bourbon, unless you're a knee-jerk booze snob. Of course it doesn't compare to the stuff that costs more, but it can be enjoyable enough. Would I use it in a Manhattan? Probably not, but I would use Jim Beam Rye in one. In any case the above was speaking about Jim Beam Rye which is different from the regular white label Jim Beam. My bourbon of choice for Manhattans happens to be Old Rip Van Winkle.
The more I use my bottle of Jim Beam Rye to make Manhattans the less I like it. It has an earthy, musty flavor to it that lingers in my mouth for at least a day afterwards. It was, however, the only rye I could easily put my hands on in several *very* large local supermarkets that have otherwise pretty good selections of booze. As the New York Times article about rye several months ago said, there are very few mainline rye manufacturers left, whereas there are now a number of boutique rye makers, who sell their stuff for $50 a bottle and up. Based now on about a year of making Manhattans with various whiskeys my favorite is Royal Crown Canadian, then bourbon and Kentucky whiskeys, then finally, in last place, the Jim Beam rye. Maybe a $100 bottle would make a difference but I'm not about to try it.... Hayford Peirce 04:45, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


Although using brandy, in my mind, doesn't make it a Manhattan, I have seen this in North Dakota/Minnesota. When I ask a bartender for a Manhattan, unless I specify otherwise they assume brandy and maraschino cherry juice only, on ice, much to my dismay. While I do think the brandy thing is true, the article doesn't cite any kind of resource for this fact.

It's odd. Manhattan's are a traditional drink in my family (we're from Milwaukee), and my dad always orders a "brandy Manhattan" (as does the rest of the family), maybe it's just a specific bar thing around here. Kwsn(Ni!) 18:03, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Fact tags for variations[edit]

I added "fact" (i.e. citation needed) tags to each of the variants. I added a "dubious" tag to two of them, the sake manhattan (rare, doesn't seem to be a real drink except in the sense that people put sake in everything sometimes and call it a Sake X), and a David Byrne manhattan (seems to be a variant from a single famous pub, but not a drink that's spread elsewhere).

It's good practice that we have a source for each variant on a drink recipe, and not just a link to a menu or recipe. That's for a couple reasons. First, it's useful for people who want to follow the link to an off-Wikipedia recipe or discussion of the drink because they're curious.

Second, people keep adding their favorite drink that they just invented or doesn't really exist (or is very rare). Of all the subjects in the world, the matter of inventions and origin, recipes, and variations on mixed drinks is one of the subjects most full of misinformation, lies, and wishful thinking. Ask ten bartenders what's in a drink or who invented it - or even read ten different websites on the issue - and you get ten different contradictory answers. So to keep these articles real we should insist that it comes from an authoritative source. If it's a real drink, sooner or later somebody is going to write about it in a serious book, major newspaper, etc.

I'll check back in a while, and may remove the sake / and Byrne if there's no reference. Thx, Wikidemo 09:40, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

The Variations section was starting to grow again so I have again removed the unsourced ones. Rees11 (talk) 18:07, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Uptown manhattan[edit]

An uptown manhattan does not mean a manhattan with canadian whiskey, at least in current common usage. You can verify this with a google based sampling of recipes. An uptown manhattan is typically a bartender's or restaraunt's special version of the drink, with some select whiskey, and often some particular touches in the way of the other ingredients (special bitters, some unusual liqueur instead of or in addition to the vermouth). What exactly the whiskey is depends on the bartender but typically I've seen bourbon or rye. -- (talk) 04:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

In support of that here's links from the first two pages of s Google of "uptown manhattan" cocktail that were relevant.

[10] [11] (eagle rare is a bourbon) [12] [13]

I'm not sure these are appropriate for citation. -- (talk) 04:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

popculture: Monster (anime)[edit]

In the anime "Monster", ep. 10, Heckel orders a Manhattan and receives it without the cherry. Later he makes the missing cherry responsible for his bad luck at a heist. I think this should be added to the pop culture section. --Thekryz (talk) 14:36, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

On the rocks[edit]

Here in Michigan if I order a Manhattan and don't specify it is always served on the rocks. In fact I recently ordered one "up" and the bartender had no idea what I meant (after telling her "no ice" she served it in an old fashioned glass with no ice). Is this a general trend or is this just Michigan? Is it worth mentioning? I can't find a reference for regional variations. Rees11 (talk)

I've never seen a Manhattan served on the rocks. I grew up in Michigan and never heard of such a thing, but I left 10+ years ago. Perhaps its just your local town? Odd. On further review i was just given that choice in Rochester, NY. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

No Bitters means no Manhattan[edit]

Something needs to be done to educate young bartenders that whisky and vermouth without bitters is NOT a Manhattan. Call it a Newark, call it a Bridgeport but don't call it a Manhattan and charge me $8 for it!. (talk) 23:53, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Fanciulli cocktail[edit]

On the Fernet Branca page, it mentions the Fanciulli cocktail, click on the hyperlink and we are redirected to the Manhattan cocktail page. But the Manhattan page does not mention Fanciulli, so the redirect is invalid — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:57, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

At the time that redirect was created in February 2010, there was a "Variations" section that was the target of the redirect, and talked about the Fanciulli. You can see that version here. That section was later removed. Kendall-K1 (talk) 14:57, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

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