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1940s Recipes + Menus

Manhattan

November 1941

This should really be called a Dry Manhattan. The recipe provides proportions but fails to disclose what measuring tool you should use. Making more than two at a time is difficult because of the amount of ice you need to properly chill the liquid. An ounce of vermouth and two ounces of rye works nicely for one drink. If this is too dry for you, try making a “perfect” Manhattan—with half sweet vermouth and half dry vermouth. There’s a reason it’s earned that name.

Watch master “mixstress” Alberta Straub demonstrate professional techniques for stirring your cocktail to chilled perfection.


It has always seemed to this native that the official recipe for a Manhattan should call for a rye whiskey, since that is the standard liquor used in New York City itself, whence the name of the drink. As in the case of the Martini, the Manhattan, with its Vermouth content, must be stirred or “spooned” rather than shaken, when finally you have added ice and are ready to chill the potation. If you shake this drink, or “rock the baby,” the Vermouth will cloud.

In a cocktail shaker combine 1/3 French (dry) Vermouth, 2/3 rye whiskey, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Stir in cracked ice, and strain into a cocktail glass which has been prepared with a maraschino cherry.

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