Welcome back to Speakeasy, where we take a deep dive into a classic drink and give you the history and origins of a drink, the spirits involved, and how to ask for a drink like a pro. Last time we took a sip of the classic old fashioned, today, we’re all about the Manhattan.
The History of the Manhattan
Once again, like most things having to do with whiskey, things are a little murky here. The Manhattan has many an origin story. We’ll tell you the most famous one first: People say that back in the 1874 one Jennie Jerome through a banquet to celebrate Samuel J. Tilden’s gubernatorial victory in the New York election. A bartender, or possibly a man by the name of Dr. Iain Marshall, created the cocktail and named it in honor of the hall, the Manhattan Club. The cocktail became popular and there you have it.
What’s interesting about this story is the players: Jennie Jerome was Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. (Yeah, that Winston.) And Samuel Tilden ran for the presidency in 1876 (and got beat by Rutherford B. Hayes). However, that story is most likely a myth because Lady Churchill may or may not have been pregnant and in France.
In any case, it seems the Manhattan was invented sometime in the 1860s and in New York City. That’s all we got for you.