Summer Manhattan


2 oz.

Iwai Japanese Whiskey

1 oz.

Antica Torino Vermouth Rosso

15 dashes

hopped grapefruit bitters


orange twist

Glassware & Tools:

  • Coupe Glass

  • Mixing Glass

  • Swizzle Spoon

  • Jiggers

  • Hawthorne Strainer

In honor of my wedding anniversary (May 24th, 2015), I am sharing with you what I call a “Summer Manhattan” – a slight twist on a traditional Manhattan recipe that my husband and I served at our wedding reception. As I look back now, it’s not really that much of a twist, but our guests loved it!

We replaced the typical sweet vermouth with Antica Torino Vermouth Rosso. This vermouth is bursting with flavor! In fact, there are thirteen botanicals in this oh-so-secret recipe (check it out here for yourself), and they are all completely natural (no added color or flavor). As for the whiskey, we went with Iwai Japanese Whiskey as it is light on the palate and offers gentle notes of caramel and vanilla. By incorporating hopped grapefruit bitters, in place of Angostura bitters, this added a level of complexity that is reminiscent of an old-fashioned cocktail (without all of the fruit). The result? A lighter yet more flavorful version of a traditional Manhattan cocktail.

I am also using this opportunity to showcase my nerdy love of history… There are actually many stories regarding the origins of the Manhattan that date as far back as the 1860’s. However, there are two stories in particular that seem to stand out.

The first suggests that Lady Randolph Churchill (mother to future Prime Minister Winston Churchill) hosted a party in 1874 for the Presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden at the Manhattan Club in New York City. At said party, a drink similar to the Manhattan was served. The party was a wild success, making the drink socially coveted by New York’s elite. These socialites would then go about ordering “that Manhattan cocktail.” However, there is much evidence to show that Lady Churchill was busy giving birth to afore-mentioned Prime Minister at this time…in England. This sooooort of sheds much doubt on this being the actual origin of the drink.

The other popular legend comes from a story written by William F. Mulhall, an actual bartender for over 30 years. He claims that in the 1860’s a bartender by the name of Black (that operated out of an establishment near present day Houston and Broadway in Manhattan) created a concoction that very closely resembled that of the traditional Manhattan cocktail. I tend to give this story more credence than the other just for the mere fact that it is one bartender paying homage to another.

While my “Summer Manhattan” isn’t a true representation of the classic cocktail, it is well worth trying! It’s the perfect variation to enjoy during the hot months ahead.

How to Make:

  1. Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice
  2. Stir until well chilled
  3. Strain into a coupe glass
  4. Squeeze an orange peel over the glass and then use as garnish


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