By Michael Smith
The Manhattan was invented in that city in the 1870s at a banquet hosted by Winston Churchill’s mother. It’s one of the earlier and more enduring cocktails, a drink of mystery, depth and strength. The combination of American whiskey (rye every time for me), Italian red vermouth (we use Carpano but Martini Rosso will do fine), a dash or two of Angustura Bitters, and a cherry or an orange twist for garnish, this simplest of cocktails has enduring and intriguing charisma.
Perfect for this time of year, after work, as an aperitif before hearty beef or ox tail stews washed down with big red wines, or a drink to simply enjoy drinking, the spinning out of a pleasure, a drink that reveals itself a little more with each sip: the Manhattan is a thinking man’s drink, a drink to contemplate to, as the nights draw in, the sunsets are shot through with an ever deepening red, a hint of wood smoke can be sensed in the air, and something mysterious wells up in our souls. We’ll be making them in the bar all autumn and winter.
• Michael Smith sells wine and beer and will make you cocktails at Borough Wines, 34 Robertson St
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