Sweet, spicy, savoury and smooth, the rye Manhattan is an awesome drink. And using The Gospel’s Straight Rye Whiskey from Brunswick in Melbourne, the flavours of this classic cocktail give you an even bigger bite of the Big Apple.
I remember the first time I had a Manhattan. Somewhat ironically, it was in a hotel bar in Chicago, but nonetheless, from that moment on, I knew I’d found one of my all-time favourite whisky cocktails.
As with many of those classics like the old fashioned, the daiquiri, the sidecar or the negroni, the Manhattan is just three ingredients.
Each part working in harmony with the others, the Manhattan obeys the basic rules of balance—spirit, sweetness and bitterness/sourness. If you don’t have one part, the other two fall over. Overload one part, the other two drown.
Where Does the Manhattan Come From?
It’s pretty obvious by its name where the Manhattan cocktail is from, but the origin story of this drink is less clear.
For a while, it was thought that the Manhattan was the drink of choice at a VIP function in the Manhattan Club in NYC in the 1870s.
But as the myth suggested the party was hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother) right when she would have been giving birth to Winston himself, this story has since been debunked.
Instead, a bartender known only as Mr Black, who worked in an establishment on Broadway around the same time, has been credited with this drink.
What’s In A Manhattan?
As New York has always been a rye-drinking city, it stands to reason that rye whiskey should be the choice of a Manhattan.
- 60ml Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey
- 30ml sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Garnish with maraschino cherry
Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass (shaking tends to make the drink foam, and leaves ice shards and micro-bubbles in the drink) and strain into a martini or coupe glass over the cherry to serve it up.
You can also serve your Manhattan on the rocks in an old fashioned tumbler, but using a single large ice cube means you’ll dilute your cocktail less while still keeping it cold for a longer.
And putting the cherry on a stick makes sure the poor little fella doesn’t get squished by the ice cube.
Why Use Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey?
From the laneways of inner-city Melbourne, The Gospel Distillery has engineered their 100% rye whiskey so that it over-delivers and out-performs rye whiskey made in the States.
Owner-distillers Andrew Fitzgerald and Ben Bowles wanted to go as far beyond the minimum parameters of what a spirits needs to be called a Straight Rye Whiskey.
The result is a heavenly whiskey that’s smooth (especially for its 45%ABV), spicy and incredibly moreish.
The long and short of it is this rye makes a Manhattan better than any other whisky. Yes, it's even better than Michter’s famed straight rye, which was the drink of choice of America's first president General George Washington himself.
And I bet ol’ George would agree with me.