The original 1870’s Manhattan recipe calls for rye whiskey, but why?
The answer is relatively straightforward, rye was American’s whiskey of choice for decades, maintaining its popularity from 1790 until prohibition in 1920. During pre-prohibition, millions of gallons of rye were produced every year. Making rye the most available spirit of the time. Its availability is attributed to the fact that American grain farmers found rye to be more resilient and easier to grow than other grains. Rye was also the original base for other classic cocktails such as an Old Fashion. In a Manhattan, rye is lean, yet spicy and assertive on the pallet, which makes it the perfect partner for the herbal flavors of vermouth and bitters.