There are few cocktails as iconic as the Manhattan. Two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, two dashes of bitters—a formula that has spawned countless riffs all named for New York City’s patchwork of neighborhoods. There’s the Brooklyn and the Bronx, its classic half-brothers, but also Joaquín Simó’s Carroll Gardens, Maxwell Britten’s Brooklyn Heights and Enzo Errico’s Red Hook, among others. Still though, the Manhattan reigns supreme.
This bold, brawny cocktail represents a city of 8 million (outer boroughs happily accept the drink’s ambassadorship) and evokes everything from 19th-century politicians to Woody Allen films to glittering Broadway stage lights to Times Square’s Naked Cowboy. And we’d have it no other way. Few other drinks (or cities) can pack so much meaning into one cocktail glass.
But how does all that “Manhattan” get into the Manhattan? We trailed one little guy from birth to brandied cherry garnish to find out. Behold, a tour of Manhattan from the point of view of a Manhattan.