Food & Drink

The Two Most Popular Whiskey-Based Cocktails You Should Know About

What's the difference between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan cocktail? The best bourbon drinks go head-to-head.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Comments

Dating back to the 1800s, the Old Fashioned and Manhattan continue to be among the most popular whiskey-based cocktails, and both would serve any imbiber well—especially on a crisp fall evening. You really can't go wrong with either, but if you're going to choose a favorite, it helps to understand how they differ.

THE RECIPES:

OLD FASHIONED
Ingredients
- 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
Place the sugar cube or teaspoon of sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Splash it with three dashes of bitters and muddle together. Add the whiskey, a large ice cube, and stir. Garnish with an orange peel.

MANHATTAN
Ingredients 
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Instructions
Stir the rye, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

WHICH ONE IS OLDER?

The Old Fashioned, which Esquire calls "basically the OG cocktail," is the winner here. The first reference to it was in a May 13, 1806 edition of a newspaper called the Balance and Columbian Repository in which the paper's editor referred to a "cocktail" (the word's first published reference) as consisting of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar. The "Old Fashioned" name came a while later, in 1881, when a bartender at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky mixed the drink with bourbon, bitters, club soda, muddled sugar, and ice to honor Colonel James E. Pepper, a prominent bourbon distiller, who eventually brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.

The Manhattan, meanwhile, was probably created in the mid-19th century. William F. Mulhall, a bartender who mixed drinks at New York’s Hoffman House starting in the early 1880s, wrote: "The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen-] sixties—probably the most famous drink in the world in its time."

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

HOW DO THE INGREDIENTS DIFFER?

An Old Fashioned is made with whiskey (bourbon or rye), bitters, and sugar; a Manhattan is traditionally made with rye whiskey and substitutes sweet vermouth for the sugar. A "Perfect Manhattan" adds yet another twist: halving the sweet vermouth into equal portions of sweet and dry vermouths.

ARE THEY SERVED DIFFERENTLY?

Yes. An Old Fashioned should be prepared and served in its namesake glass, a low tumbler, accompanied (ideally) by a large ice cube. A Manhattan is mixed with ice in a mixing glass and then strained into a cocktail glass.

WHO DRINKS THEM?

There's probably no more famous proponent of the Old Fashioned than Don Draper. Case in point: the Mad Men scene below in which he prepares two of them.

Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack reportedly preferred the Manhattan.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Sam Dangremond
View Other Articles From Sam Dangremond
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
Scandinavian-made furniture and home accessories at affordable prices coming very soon.
 
Share
The Undoing is set in the tony New York City world of private-school parents.
 
Share
The legendary nose's latest creation for Bulgari recalls a childhood spent among trees.
 
Share
A retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris honors the midcentury design maestro.
 
Share
This year has been rife with numerous incarnations of the 'Streetwear X High Fashion' variety.
 
Share
"I am lucky to have such a Godfather, but we all are lucky to have such a Prince amongst us," she wrote.
 
Share
 
Share
 
Share
This is the first time in its 118-year history that Michelin chose to highlight a specific cuisine.
 
Share
Hong Kong's most generous givers gathered to give back to the Philippines' poorest families who are living on less than 50 U.S. cents a day.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US