The Manhattan is a classic American cocktail. Like many classics, it has inspired many inventive variations. The Manhattan is believed to have been conceived in Manhattan, of all places, in the late 19th century. It is widely accepted that the first Manhattan was made with Rye Whiskey. In the ugly years of Prohibition, Canadian Whisky was frequently used as the US Rye and Bourbon industry was all but extinct. Canadian Whisky typically has a lot of rye in it.
Today, either Rye or Bourbon is used depending upon the taste of the bartender. At the moment you can irritate a "mixologist" by requesting Bourbon. I like to split the difference by using Bourbon with a large portion of rye in the recipe. In the end it's a matter of personal taste and you are not likely to go wrong if you use a quality Bourbon or Rye.
One last note - make sure to use freshly opened sweet vermouth. If you have a bottle that has been open in your cabinet for a year or more, chuck it out and replace it. For the home bartender half-bottles of dry and sweet Vermouth are the smart purchases.
2 oz. Quality American Whiskey (The purists will tell you that you must use Rye.)
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 healthy dashes of Bitters
There doesn't need to be an occasion to enjoy a Manhattan. Happy hour, before dinner, or after dinner are all good times to sip this classic.
Add all ingredients along with a handful of ice to a mixing glass. Stir, don't shake, for a good 20 seconds and then strain the drink into a chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with a cherry. Do not add cherry juice from the jar unless the recipient has asked for a sweet cocktail and even then try to talk them out of it!
So many variations of the Classic Manhattan are found in bars and taverns around the world (check out the BevX variation utilizing Irish Whiskey). Easy but significant variations can be done by simply exploring different Whiskey and Vermouth combinations.