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Perfect Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Updated: Oct 27

Easy recipe for a perfect Manhattan cocktail, made with bourbon and rye.

manhattan cocktail recipe

Everyone loves a Manhattan. The Manhattan is a century-old cocktail that is sophisticated and appropriate for all occasions. Made with rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters, it is a drink that is truly perfect for any occasion. In this blog post, we'll explore the ingredients you'll need to make the a Manhattan, as well as some tried-and-true variations.


In this recipe:

  1. Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

  2. Variations on the Manhattan

  3. Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

  4. Bonus: Tips and Tricks


Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

Basic ingredient list for a manhattan cocktail. Any variations on the Manhattan cocktail needs to branch off of these core ingredients.

- 2 oz. whiskey

- 1 oz. sweet vermouth

- 1-3 dashes angostura bitters

- 1-2 maraschino cherries

Spirits: As with any strong cocktail, the whisky will be the star of the show in a Manhattan, so it's important to choose a high-quality bourbon that you enjoy drinking on its own. Traditionally, rye whiskey is used in a Manhattan, but you can also use bourbon if you prefer a sweeter flavor. I typically recommend either a Sazerac Rye or Bulleit's Rye as my spirit here. If you don't like the spicy flavor of rye, I recommend a bourbon like Buffalo Trace or Eagle Rare.

Sweet Vermouth: Sweet vermouth is a fortified wine that is flavored with herbs and spices. It adds a sweet, slightly bitter flavor to the cocktail. Look for a high-quality sweet vermouth, such as Carpano Antica or Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. If you don't have these brands, Martini-Rossi sweet vermouth will work just as well.

Bitters: Angostura bitters are the classic choice for a Manhattan, but you can also experiment with other types of bitters, such as orange bitters or chocolate bitters.

Cherries: Maraschino cherries are a traditional garnish for a Manhattan. Look for high-quality cherries that are free from artificial colors and flavors. I always recommend Luxardo cherries for a drink like this.

manhattan cocktail ingredient list

Variations on the Manhattan

While the classic Manhattan recipe is delicious on its own, there are many variations that you can try to give the cocktail a unique twist. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Perfect Manhattan: A perfect Manhattan is made with equal parts sweet vermouth and dry vermouth. This gives the cocktail a slightly different flavor profile and can make it less sweet than the classic recipe.

Smoky Manhattan: Try using a smoky whiskey, such as a peated Scotch (get an Islay scotch like Ardbeg if you're feeling especially smoky) or a mezcal, in your Manhattan. This will give the cocktail a smoky, savory flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of the vermouth.

Black Manhattan: A black Manhattan is made with Averna, a bitter Italian liqueur, instead of the traditional bitters. This gives the cocktail a darker color and a more complex flavor profile.

Perfectly Peach Manhattan: This is perfect for a summer day. For a sweeter twist on the classic recipe, try using peach-flavored whiskey or adding a splash of peach schnapps to your Manhattan. This will give the cocktail a fruity, refreshing flavor that is perfect for warm weather.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min, Cook Time: 5 min

Step 1: Fill a mixing glass with ice.

Step 2: Add 2 ounces of whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters to the mixing glass.

Step 3: Stir the ingredients together with a bar spoon for about 30 seconds. This will help to dilute the whiskey and blend the flavors together.

Step 4: Strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass.

Step 5: Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

manhattan cocktail recipe

Bonus: Tips & Tricks

Use fresh ice: Fresh ice will help to dilute the whiskey without watering it down too much.

Stir, don't shake: Unlike some other cocktails, a Manhattan should be stirred, not shaken. This prevents the ice in your cocktail from melting and diluting the flavor of your drink.

Experiment with bitters: While Angostura bitters are the classic choice for a Manhattan, you can also try other types of bitters to give the cocktail a unique flavor. I am particularly keen on orange bitters.

Garnish with a twist: If you're looking for a twist on the traditional cherry garnish, try using a lemon or orange twist instead.

Good luck!

manhattan cocktail new york city
Is there anything better than a Manhattan in Manhattan?

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