Proportions for the classic Manhattan are two (sometimes three) parts whiskey to one part sweet vermouth, with a little aromatic boost from bitters. The drink is believed to date from 1874, created by a bartender at New York’s Manhattan Club. “Since New York was a rye town in those days,” writes cocktail expert Dale DeGroff in The Craft of the Cocktail, “the original Manhattan was made with rye whiskey.” Bourbon Manhattans are a thing in the South.
What to buy: Unlike the shockingly red maraschinos that top the kids’ sundaes, cherries in marasca syrup are chewy, dark, and free of food coloring. Look for the Italian brand Luxardo.