The earliest unequivocal reference to a Manhattan cocktail dates back to September 1882 where it is described as "a mixture of whiskey, vermouth and bitters." Such was the Manhattan then, such it is now, such shall it ever be, world without end.
Named after folk hero Rob Roy Macgregor, the Rob Roy has quite an interesting background. The drink made its first appearance in 1894 in Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria. Many would argue that the name was borrowed from a hit play, ‘Rob Roy’ hosted by the Herald Square, located close to the original Waldorf. The operetta possibly intended to make connections with the bar by lending the name.
The ingredients in a Harvard cocktail are reminiscent of a Manhattan. Indeed, they are almost identical, with a couple of variations for distinction. A Harvard doesn’t have the trademark maraschino cherry garnish of a Manhattan. Rather, a thin twist of lemon peel is perched on its rim.