The Manhattan Project

VTR - Barrel-Aged Manhatten by Edsel Little (CC BY-AS 2.0)
VTR – Barrel-Aged Manhattan by Edsel Little (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you were wondering what to drink while you watch Manhattanhenge, the choice is obvious – a Manhattan, preferably barrel-aged.

As I grew into manhood, my father promoted a strong set of core values in me – politeness, gratitude, compassion, kindness – as well as respect for a good glass of whiskey and Winston Churchill. What, you may ask, does Winston Churchill have to do with this classic whiskey cocktails and science? Glad you asked.

The most common Manhattan origin story states that it was created in 1874 at New York’s Manhattan club for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston’s mother. That was the same year Winnie was born. I doubt he, of all people, would discourage the notion that helping coordinate the creation of the Manhattan cocktail in utero may have been early practice for coordinating the Allied victory in WWII. At the very least, the Manhattan and Winston are akin to each other. Watch out Jagermeister! Continue reading “The Manhattan Project”


2014 Manhattanhenge
2014 Manhattanhenge. Photo by Jeffrey Putman on Flickr.

This past week was “Manhattanhenge” in New York City. This event occurs twice per year, on both sides of summer solstice, when the setting sun aligns exactly with the street grid.

The name is derived from Stonehenge, which shows a similar phenomenon exactly on solstice. While Stonehenge is believed to have been built specifically with this light effect in mind, Manhattanhenge is just an artefact of the street grid of Manhattan.

Continue reading “Manhattanhenge”

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