The Trendy Cocktail

Toast of the Town: The martini was born elsewhere, but New York made it great.Photo: Kenneth Chen

What’s the quintessential New York cocktail?

The Manhattan, no question. It’s the No. 2 of the cocktail-world superstars, second only to the martini. But the Manhattan has a singular New York story. Winston Churchill’s American mother, Jennie, commissioned it for a party at the Manhattan Club celebrating Samuel Tilden’s election as governor.

Who drinks Manhattans these days?

The type who believes that there are only three drinks in the world: the martini, the Manhattan, and straight whiskey.

Some HBO subscribers and Cosmopolitan drinkers might be shocked to hear this.

In the big picture, the Manhattan is a tidal wave and the Cosmopolitan is just lapping the shore gently.

You mean the Cosmopolitan is going the way of the Harvey Wallbanger?

No, the Cosmopolitan isn’t going anywhere. But it’s funny that some people think that Sex and the City created the Cosmopolitan: It was around way, way, way before that. I mean … Madonna is the one who put it on the map.

So compared to Winston Churchill’s mom, Madonna is just lapping the shore gently?


Shaken or stirred, what’s your opinion?

When you have only spirits in a drink, like a martini or a Manhattan, you stir. When you have fruit, sweet, or multiple ingredients, you shake, because those kinds of cocktails are meant to be served, as Harry Craddock was wont to say, effervescent, or laughing at you. When you drink a Manhattan or a martini, you want the texture heavy, cold, and silky on your tongue. You do not want effervescent, light, and frothy. You do not want the thing laughing at you.

The Trendy Cocktail