As legend has it, the Manhattan was created in the Manhattan Club, NYC in 1874 for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother, at a dinner for Presidential candidate, Samuel Tilden. The success of the banquet and the attendance of New York socialites meant that the Manhattan spread like wildfire throughout NYC with many people asking for the “Manhattan’s cocktail” after the club where it was founded.
As with many of these cocktail origin stories, they need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Lady Randolph wasn’t in New York in 1874, instead living in France pregnant with an unborn Winston Churchill. Instead, many believe that it was created by a bar on Broadway near Houston St. in NYC.