Manhattan Cocktail Drink

Manhattan

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

This Manhattan recipe covers you if you want to make an elegant drink tonight! With just a few ingredients, you can whip up this timeless cocktail in no time.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Unwind with this classic Manhattan recipe! This sophisticated cocktail is perfect for any occasion, made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

174 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherry or lemon twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass chilled
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Mixing Glass
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep cocktail glass: Place your cocktail glass in the freezer few hours before or ice it up with ice before starting.
  • Add Bitters: Drop in 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and add 1 oz sweet Vermouth.
  • Add Rye Whiskey: Pour 2 oz Rye Whiskey into the mixing glass.
  • Stir Gently: Add ice cubes and stir the ingredients together gently with a bar spoon.
  • Strain: Discard the ice from your cocktail glass and strain the mixture.
  • Garnish: Add a maraschino cherry or a lemon twist for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rye Whiskey: If you don't have rye, bourbon makes a good stand-in, but it will make the drink sweeter. I've also used Scotch for a "Rob Roy," a smokier take on a Manhattan.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can work in a pinch, but you'll lose the traditional Manhattan sweetness. To balance it out, add a dash of simple syrup.
  • Angostura Bitters: If you run out of Angostura, orange bitters can add an interesting twist. It won't be a classic Manhattan, but it'll still be tasty.

Making a Pitcher of Manhattan:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. So, 16 oz of rye whiskey, 8 oz of sweet vermouth, and 16 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  • Mix: Combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a large pitcher. Stir well.
  • Serve: Strain the mixture into individual chilled cocktail glasses, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rye Whiskey Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative widely available in specialty stores.
  • Proceed As Usual: Follow these non-alcoholic ingredients' original steps to enjoy a "mock" Manhattan.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: Skip the maraschino cherry if it's made with non-vegan dyes or additives. Opt for a lemon twist, or find a vegan-friendly cherry brand.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
174
% Daily Value*
Carbohydrates
 
2
g
1
%
Sugar
 
0.3
g
0
%
Potassium
 
1
mg
0
%
Protein
 
0.02
g
0
%
Iron
 
0.01
mg
0
%

 

Manhattan Cocktail Drink

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Video
Unwind with this classic Manhattan recipe! This sophisticated cocktail is perfect for any occasion, made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 174

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherry or lemon twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass chilled
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Mixing Glass
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep cocktail glass: Place your cocktail glass in the freezer few hours before or ice it up with ice before starting.
  • Add Bitters: Drop in 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and add 1 oz sweet Vermouth.
  • Add Rye Whiskey: Pour 2 oz Rye Whiskey into the mixing glass.
  • Stir Gently: Add ice cubes and stir the ingredients together gently with a bar spoon.
  • Strain: Discard the ice from your cocktail glass and strain the mixture.
  • Garnish: Add a maraschino cherry or a lemon twist for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rye Whiskey: If you don't have rye, bourbon makes a good stand-in, but it will make the drink sweeter. I've also used Scotch for a "Rob Roy," a smokier take on a Manhattan.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can work in a pinch, but you'll lose the traditional Manhattan sweetness. To balance it out, add a dash of simple syrup.
  • Angostura Bitters: If you run out of Angostura, orange bitters can add an interesting twist. It won't be a classic Manhattan, but it'll still be tasty.

Making a Pitcher of Manhattan:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. So, 16 oz of rye whiskey, 8 oz of sweet vermouth, and 16 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  • Mix: Combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a large pitcher. Stir well.
  • Serve: Strain the mixture into individual chilled cocktail glasses, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rye Whiskey Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative widely available in specialty stores.
  • Proceed As Usual: Follow these non-alcoholic ingredients' original steps to enjoy a "mock" Manhattan.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: Skip the maraschino cherry if it's made with non-vegan dyes or additives. Opt for a lemon twist, or find a vegan-friendly cherry brand.

What is a Manhattan Cocktail?

A Manhattan is a timeless cocktail that combines rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. Many consider it one of the cardinal cocktails, standing the test of time since its creation in the 19th century. The drink’s name suggests its origin, often attributed to the Manhattan Club in New York City. The cocktail is officially recognized
by The International Bartender Association(IBA) and is categorized as one of “The Unforgettables”.

A side shot of a Manhattan cocktail in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table in front of a bar spoon, a mixing glass and a jigger.

What are the traditional Manhattan Cocktail ingredients?

To prepare your Manhattan, start by collecting these ingredients:

  • Rye Whiskey: Provides the foundational spirit of the drink, delivering a rich, spicy flavor.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Adds complexity and sweetness, balancing out the strong character of the whiskey.
  • Angostura Bitters: Contributes aromatic elements and subtle bitterness, enhancing the overall depth of the cocktail.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the drink to the desired temperature without diluting it too much.
  • Maraschino Cherry or Lemon Twist: Serves as a garnish, adding a final aesthetic touch or a burst of citrus aroma.

Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Manhattan Cocktail?

Learn how to make a great Manhattan using our simple step-by-step guide:

1
<p>First, fill your cocktail glass with ice cubes to chill.</p>

First, fill your cocktail glass with ice cubes to chill.

2
<p>Drop in a mixing glass 2 dashes of Angostura bitters to deepen the flavor profile and add aromatic complexity.</p>

Drop in a mixing glass 2 dashes of Angostura bitters to deepen the flavor profile and add aromatic complexity.

3
<p>Measure and add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth to complement and sweeten the rye whiskey.</p>

Measure and add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth to complement and sweeten the rye whiskey.

4
<p>Pour 2 ounces of rye whiskey into the mixing glass, creating the backbone of your Manhattan.</p>

Pour 2 ounces of rye whiskey into the mixing glass, creating the backbone of your Manhattan.

5
<p>Fill your mixing glass with ice cubes.</p>

Fill your mixing glass with ice cubes.

6
<p>Stir the ingredients gently with a bar spoon, ensuring all the flavors are incorporated.</p>

Stir the ingredients gently with a bar spoon, ensuring all the flavors are incorporated.

7
<p>Strain the mixture into your chilled cocktail glass with no ice.</p>

Strain the mixture into your chilled cocktail glass with no ice.

8
<p>Add a maraschino cherry or a lemon twist as a garnish to complete the aesthetic of the drink.</p>

Add a maraschino cherry or a lemon twist as a garnish to complete the aesthetic of the drink.

9
<p>Enjoy your Manhattan!</p>

Enjoy your Manhattan!

Best whiskey for a Manhattan Cocktail

When making a killer Manhattan, the whiskey you choose is key. Let’s keep it simple: you’ve got two main choices — rye or bourbon. Rye is the traditional go-to, offering a spicier kick that balances out the sweet vermouth. Think Bulleit Rye or Rittenhouse — both solid picks, widely available, and they won’t break the bank. On the other hand, if you prefer a sweeter, smoother sip, bourbon’s your best bet. Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve are reliable choices, and they add a caramel-like sweetness that plays nicely with the vermouth. But if you’re gunning for the best Manhattan you’ve ever made, consider splurging on WhistlePig Rye. It’s a high-quality, aged rye that delivers a complexity you’ll appreciate. Sure, it’s pricier, but your taste buds will thank you.

A side shot of a Manhattan cocktail in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table with a plant on the side and a bar spoon and mixing glass on the background.

What about Canadian whiskey brands?

Canadian whiskies are generally smoother and lighter than their American counterparts, but they can still pack a punch in a cocktail. Crown Royal is a solid, readily available option if you’re interested in venturing north for your whiskey choice. It offers a balanced, mellow flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients in your Manhattan.

Forty Creek is another brand worth checking out. It brings more complex notes—think hints of vanilla and apricot—while still delivering that essential whiskey kick. You might want to try Lot No. 40 for a higher-end selection. This rye whiskey has a spicy, fruity profile, making it a prime candidate for a well-rounded Manhattan.

So, if you want to switch things up, give Canadian whiskey a shot in your next Manhattan. You might just discover a new favorite.

Best red vermouth for a Manhattan Cocktail

When picking the best red vermouth for your Manhattan, you’ve got options, but not all vermouths are created equal. Carpano Antica Formula is a top pick if you’re looking for a rich, complex flavor profile with vanilla undertones. It elevates the cocktail but beware—it’s on the pricey side. Dolin Rouge is another solid choice, bringing a lighter, more floral touch to your Manhattan. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to skimp on quality, Martini & Rossi or Cinzano are reliable brands that won’t break the bank. They’re versatile and widely available. However, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is the way to go if you’re after the best bang for your buck. It offers a well-balanced mix of bitter and sweet and is affordable.

What is the difference between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned?

Both the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned star whiskey, but they’re distinct drinks with unique flavors and preparation methods. A Manhattan blends rye whiskey with sweet vermouth and bitters, giving it a complex, slightly sweet profile. An Old Fashioned sticks to the basics: whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters, letting the spirit take center stage.

You make a Manhattan by stirring the ingredients with ice and straining them into a chilled glass, usually a coupe or a cocktail glass. For an Old Fashioned, mix sugar, bitters, and a splash of water right in the serving glass, add ice and whiskey, and stir it well.

The garnish game is different too. Expect a cherry or a citrus twist in your Manhattan. The Old Fashioned has a more casual vibe with an orange slice and a cherry.

A Manhattan cocktail, shot from above, in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table and in front of a bar spoon.

Manhattan Cocktail variations – more cocktail recipes

Ready to explore other similar choices? Enjoy our variety of options:

  • Black Manhattan: A switch to Averna, an Italian amaro, instead of sweet vermouth gives a herbal, root beer-like taste. I really like this unique depth and herbal complexity.
  • Metropolitan: Orange bitters replace Angostura bitters, and brandy takes the place of rye. This mix offers a citrusy, fruity flavor, which I find really refreshing and enjoyable.
  • Cuban Manhattan: Using dark rum instead of whiskey adds Caribbean flavors, with hints of molasses and spice. It’s an exotic and flavorful twist.
  • Palermo: Tuaca, an Italian brandy liqueur, steps in for sweet vermouth, adding vanilla and citrus notes. It enhances the classic base with an Italian twist.
  • Blonde Manhattan: Unaged whiskey and white vermouth make for a lighter color and milder flavor. It’s a subtler, easier option for gentler tastes.
  • Southern Manhattan: Southern Comfort replaces rye whiskey, bringing in fruit and spice flavors. This Southern twist offers a unique, comforting taste.
  • Rob Roy: Scotch replaces rye whiskey, giving a smoky, peaty flavor. It’s a robust and interesting choice with a distinct taste.
  • Reverse Manhattan: Flipping the vermouth and whiskey ratio puts more focus on the vermouth, for a softer, less intense sip. It’s a mellow and refined drink.
  • Maple Manhattan: Maple syrup instead of sweet vermouth adds a Canadian touch with natural sweetness. It’s uniquely delightful and warming.
  • Dry Manhattan: Dry vermouth replaces sweet, for a less sugary, more herbal finish. It’s great for those who like a more sophisticated, less sweet taste.
  • Brandy Manhattan: Brandy instead of rye whiskey makes it fruitier and softer. It’s perfect for a smoother, mellower flavor.

A Manhattan cocktail, shot from above, in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table and a plant on the side.

  • History and Origin
  • The Manhattan cocktail traces back to New York City, specifically to the Manhattan Club, in the late 19th century. The popular story suggests Dr. Iain Marshall crafted the drink for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother. The event allegedly celebrated Samuel J. Tilden’s electoral victory, and the drink became a hit among the attendees. However, historians debate this narrative, as records indicate that Lady Randolph Churchill was not in the United States then.
  • Despite the contested details of its origin, Manhattan gained rapid popularity in social clubs and bars across the city. Bartenders began to include it in their repertoire, and soon, it became a staple in mixology books.
See More

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to see how you crafted our recipes!
Tag us on Instagram at @_drinksworld

FAQ

How many calories are in a Manhattan? 
A standard Manhattan contains approximately 180-200 calories, depending on the brands of ingredients used.
How strong is a Manhattan?
With a typical alcohol by volume (ABV) of around 30-35%, Manhattan is relatively strong.
What type of alcohol is used in a Manhattan? 
Rye whiskey is the traditional choice, although some recipes use bourbon.
In which glass is a Manhattan typically served? 
Usually, you'll find a Manhattan served in a cocktail or coupe glass.
What does a Manhattan taste like? 
A Manhattan offers a balanced blend of strong, sweet, and bitter flavors, thanks to its trio of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.
Is a Manhattan shaken or stirred? 
A Manhattan is generally stirred to maintain clarity and avoid dilution.
Is it okay to use bourbon instead of rye whiskey? 
Yes, bourbon is an acceptable alternative, making the drink sweeter and less spicy.
Can I skip the bitters?
You could, but bitters are essential for Manhattan's balanced flavor.

Categories

Types

Flavours

Spirits

Share
Pin
Post
Share
Send
Email

Rate this recipe

I don’t like it

It’s not bad

I like it

I really like it!

I love it!

Comments

Leave a Reply

Language

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.

Types