What drink is more emblematic of Manhattan than its eponymous cocktail?
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Cosmos, begone—the perfectly balanced Manhattan cocktail is sophisticated, smooth, and classic. Rumor has it the cocktail was created at the Manhattan Club in 1874 for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mum. Regardless of its unconfirmed provenance, the cocktail, which combines rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, has been served in NYC haunts since the 1860s. We’ve uncovered some of the best places to find the classic cocktail in original New York style.
Cozy up next to the Maxfield Parrish mural at the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis, and sip a classic Manhattan made with Seagram’s Seven whiskey. Recent James Beard Best New Restaurant award-winner ABC Kitchen makes its version with McKenzie rye whiskey from the Finger Lakes. Featuring anise-accented Carpano Antica vermouth and spicy Fee Brother’s Old Fashion Bitters, ABC’s take on the cocktail is a winner. Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle hotel—where the live jazz is as much a lure as the Gatsbyesque 1930s atmosphere—goes the bourbon route, combining rye-heavy Bulleit bourbon with Carpano Antica vermouth and classic angostura bitters, all topped off with a dried bing cherry reconstituted in simple syrup. Want a twist on the classic? Head to the West Village’s favorite speakeasy, Little Branch, and order a Tipperary. The suspenders-clad bartender will deliver you a spicy, herbaceous cocktail made with Irish whiskey, green Chartreuse, and Maraschino liqueur that would make J.P. Morgan rethink his favorite drink.