Today’s History Happy Hour celebrates Woody Allen who turns 80th today.  And how better to celebrate the birth of this iconic New Yorker than with an iconic New York cocktail, The Manhattan.

Manhattan2Born Allen Stewart Konisberg in The Bronx in 1935, Allen’s career as an actor, writer, comedian, and jazz musician has spanned more than 50 years. Last month, his film Annie Hall (1977) was voted the best comedy of all time, highlighting Allen’s comedic genius. 

Allen is famous for playing the intellectual but socially inept and neurotic New York Jew.  His films, including Manhattan (1979) are often as much a love song to the city of New York as they are love stories between the characters on-screen. 

New York was his town, and it always would be.”

Woody Allen, Manhattan

The Manhattan cocktail originated sometime in the latter half of the 19th century.  When and where exactly is probably lost in history but what is almost definitely not true is the common legend that t it was invented at the Manhattan club in 1874 at a party thrown by Lady Randolph Churchill, (Winston Churchill’s mother).

ManhattanWherever it came from it’s a lovely cocktail.  I found it quite strong but I am not a whiskey or bourbon drinker.  I liked the interplay of the bitters and the vermouth and I really liked the hint of orange from the garnish. 

Next time I make one I will ramp up the orange flavour by rubbing the glass with some orange oils gained by squeezing the peel until little dots of orange oil appear.

Why don’t you enjoy a more classic Manhattan and maybe catch one of Woody’s film’s this week. I’ll be watching Midnight in Paris, one of my favourite films. 

Have a great week and happy drinking!

History Happy Hour – The Manhattan

History Happy Hour – The Manhattan


  • 3 measures bourbon or rye whiskey (I used bourbon but rye is more traditional)
  • 1 measure sweet vermouth
  • dash of Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry to garnish
  • strip of orange peel to garnish,
  • Ice


  • Pour half the ice into your cocktail glass to chill it down
  • Place the rest of the ice into your cocktail shaker.
  • Dash the bitters on the ice.
  • Pour in the bourbon//whiskey and vermouth
  • Stir well to mix.
  • Empty the ice from the cocktail glass, pour in the bourbon and vermouth mixture.
  • Garnish with the cherry and orange peel.
  • Enjoy!

Have a great week!

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