Manhattan – A Cocktail Classic

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by David Michael


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A cocktail classic from when vermouth was promoted from being a stand alone sipper to an ingredient in a mixed drink. Related to the martini, the Manhattan blends sweet vermouth and whiskey into a simple and complexly flavorful cocktail. Rye is the traditional whiskey, but feel free to use bourbon or your favored whiskey. Using scotch makes this a Rob Roy.

This cocktail is a great example of how to use vermouth to your advantage. It can be made with any sweet vermouth you want, just make sure you use something that’s not too sweet.

Manhattan Recipe

2 ounces whiskey
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Garnish: Brandied or Maraschino cherry

In a mixing glass half filled with ice, combine the whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters.
Stir well.
Strain into a cocktail glass or over ice in an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with a brandied or a Maraschino cherry.

The Manhattan is one of our choices for a not overly sweet Valentine’s Cocktail.
Be sure to check out the Scotch counterpoint – The Rob Roy
For more classic cocktails that are served in a martini glass see our recipes for the Dry Martini and Sidecar.
You may also like our picks of the Best Cocktail Stemware too.

Browse all of our cocktail recipes in our Cocktail Recipe Index.

Recommended Products for a Manhattan

Riedel Vinum Martini Glasses

The perfect size for this recipe. I love my Vinum martini glasses, they’re sturdy and have graceful lines. I photographed this Manhattan using a Riedel Vinum Martini glass.

 Riedel VINUM Martini Glasses, Set of 2 - ,Clear

Riedel Extreme Martini Glasses

The larger Extreme martini glass is great if you are serving doubles. These hold a generous 8 ounces each.

Riedel Extreme Martini Glasses

Mixing Glass

Also featured in the photo above, I have been using the Riedel mixing glass for nearly all of my stirred cocktails. It’s a nice heavy glass that holds 22 ounces. Plenty of room to make two drinks at the same time – even doubles.

Riedel Mixing Glass

Stainless Bar Spoon by Barfly

I prefer these stainless steel barspoons from Barfly. They are high quality commercial grade. They come in a great selection of finishes, but stainless is what I always go for.

Bar Spoon by Barfly

Stainless Julep Strainer by Barfly

I love this julep style strainer. It’s just the right size for the Riedel mixing glass. I have the stainless, but it’s available in several great finishes.

Stainless Julep Strainer by Barfly

Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters

The classic bitters with an angostura base that gives the perfect touch of seasoning to your Manhattan. I love the spice of the Fee Brothers old fashion bitters. They also make an amazing range of fruit and spice based bitters to easily update the flavor profile of your cocktails.

Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters

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