There have been threads (I checked) that have touched on aspects of the Manhattan cocktail. E.g., what is the Perfect Manhattan, whether rye or Bourbon should be used, whether old whiskey goes well in Manhattans and other such tangents. None of these simply asked people, how do you make your Manhattan and why do you like it? So I propose this question now.
Here is my own reply: I like a Manhattan made with almost any kind of U.S. or Canadian whiskey, preferably a rye whiskey or rye-oriented bourbon, but any good whiskey will do. I use red vermouth only, any kind will do except the imitations made in Canada by some wineries. Bitters are essential, any kind. Cherry is essential, red only (recently I was served a Manhattan cocktail with a green cherry lurid in the bottom; did this explain the light headache the next day A.M.? ). I like both rocks and straight-up Manhattans. Proportions: a strict 3:1 whiskey to vermouth. I like Manhattans because the herbs in the vermouth and sweetness meld into the whiskey giving a complex taste, one (too) that seems old-fashioned, an old-time compound from when people did not abjure strong tastes. The Manhattan is flexible but only up to a point. Although I don't use white vermouth or mixtures of red and white, I can see why the Eastern Establishment were fussy about the correct type and amount to use. Small changes to the drink can affect the taste noticeably - mixology requires exactitude and good ingredients, and the right touch - and good company.
How do you make your Manhattan if you like one? What are its merits in ypur view?