Cocktail Time – The Manhattan

To the British, the cocktail has always been thought of as having American roots. A 1908 catalogue from Harrods, for example, featured two silver plated cocktail shakers advertised as being “for mixing American drinks”

The well-heeled English aristocracy would often holiday in New York and, presumably under the influence of these innovative concoctions, sometimes marry the inhabitants. Not that Lord Randolph Churchill required beer goggles to fall under the spell of Jennie Jerome. New money spoke volumes and Jennie was the daughter of Leonard Jerome –“The King of Wall Street” — and therefore qualified, in financial terms, as American aristocracy herself.

Considering one of the products of their union, born 8 months after their marriage in 1874, was Winston Churchill, it is a bit of a surprise to find that Jennie was not a bulldog-faced harpy but actually one of the most beautiful women of her age.

I have nothing to offer blood, toil, tears, sweat and an inheritance worth millions

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, sweat and an inheritance worth millions

She was once described as having “more of the panther than of the woman in her look”, was intelligent, witty, quick to laugh and, like all great aristocratic wives, prepared to sleep with anyone as long as it would advance her husband’s career. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she attained enormous social power, helped no doubt by her numerous lovers, including Edward VII.

Not content with having a mother who inspired one of the world's greatest cocktails, Winston went on to win World War Two whilst consuming an average of 5 martinis a day and chuffing on a big fat cuban. Respect.

Not content with having a mother who inspired one of the world's greatest cocktails, Winston went on to win World War II whilst consuming an average of 5 martinis a day and chuffing on a big fat Cuban. Respect.

All that was in the future however. . .

According to cocktail legend, Jennie threw a party in 1874 for the politician Samuel J. Tilden, chairman of the Democratic State Committee. The bartender at the venue, the Manhattan Club in New York, created a drink in celebration of the event and named the concoction after the club.

And the Manhattan was born.

The Manhattan

Take an ice filled mixing jug and stir 20 times

Strain

Add two dashes of Angostura Bitters

Add 4 parts Rye Whiskey and 1 part Sweet Vermouth

Stir and strain

Garnish with a cherry

 

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