Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

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Manhattan Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Manhattan cocktail is a classic and sophisticated drink that dates back to the late 19th century. It is said to have been created at the Manhattan Club in New York City, where it was first served at a party thrown by Winston Churchill's mother, Lady Randolph Churchill.

Some other theories suggest it was created by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street. Regardless of its origin, the Manhattan has become a staple in the world of mixology and is enjoyed by many around the world.

How Manhattan Tastes?

The Manhattan cocktail is a well-balanced blend of sweet, bitter, and strong flavors. The sweetness comes from the vermouth, while the bitterness is derived from the aromatic bitters. The whiskey provides a robust and full-bodied taste, making the drink a perfect choice for those who enjoy a strong and complex cocktail.

Interesting facts about Manhattan

  • The Manhattan is one of the six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic 'The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks'.
  • The traditional garnish for a Manhattan is a maraschino cherry, but some variations use a lemon twist instead.
  • The Manhattan is often stirred, not shaken, to maintain its clarity and smooth texture.


Rye Whiskey

A warm welcome from the bold and spicy character of rye break the ice in our Manhattan. At 2 oz, it's the backbone of this classic, providing enough punch without knocking your socks off. Want it smoother? Swap for bourbon and say hello to a sweeter, less spicy sipper. Skip the rye and your Manhattan is suddenly swimming without a lifeguard!

Alex Green

Sweet Vermouth

The charismatic companion that brings harmony to the party. It's like a sweet whisper to the rye's loud talk at 1 oz. Less and the rye might get too rowdy; more and the cocktail gets sticky sweet. No vermouth, no Manhattan—instead, you've got yourself a sad, lonely rye on the rocks.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters

The spice that makes the ice nice. Just 2 dashes are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world, giving depth and complexity that's just right. It's like that pinch of magic in grandma's cooking – removing it is a no-no unless you enjoy flat flavors. Plus, without bitters, is it really even a cocktail?

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

The cherry on top! Literally. It's the sweet little goodbye kiss at the end of each drink. Skip it, and sure, you won't cry over a lost cherry, but it's the small things that complete the experience.

Alex Green

Garnish: Orange or Lemon Twist

Fresh zest, fresh life. A twist of citrus isn't just a pretty face – it adds a hint of bright aroma and zesty flavor that perks up your senses. No twist and the drink just feels undressed—like stepping out without your earrings or tie.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Manhattan Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 oz of rye whiskey, 1 oz of sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Stir the mixture gently for about 30 seconds, or until well-chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange or lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Rye Whiskey: Use a high-quality rye whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Stirring: Stir gently to avoid diluting the drink too much.
  • Garnish: Experiment with different garnishes to add a personal touch.

Perfect Pairings

Starter Pairings

  • Charcuterie Boards: The savory flavors from various meats magnificently complement the spiciness of the rye whiskey.
  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of high-quality dark chocolate can bring out the richness in the Manhattan.

Main Course Pairings

  • Steak: The boldness of a well-cooked steak pairs perfectly with the robust flavors of a Manhattan.
  • Roasted Duck: The sweet vermouth in the cocktail balances the richness of the duck.

Dessert Pairings

  • Cheesecake: The creaminess of cheesecake contrasts nicely with the complexity of the cocktail.
  • Pecan Pie: The nuttiness of the pie and the hints of vanilla from the whiskey are a match made in heaven.

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What you could change in Manhattan

  • Rye Whiskey: Bourbon can be used as a substitute.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can be used for a less sweet version.
  • Angostura Bitters: Other aromatic bitters can be used.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

Black Manhattan

Swap out the sweet vermouth for an amaro, such as Averna, to introduce a bittersweet, herbal quality that dances with the rye in a whole new way. You might find yourself wandering the streets of a darker, more mysterious Manhattan.

Ingredients: 2 oz Rye Whiskey, 1 oz Amaro, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters, Maraschino Cherry, Orange Twist Recipe: Follow the standard Manhattan recipe, but with amaro instead of sweet vermouth.

Perfect Manhattan

For those who enjoy diplomatic balance, use equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. This balanced act brings a smoother and more nuanced experience that'll have you singing 'Perfect Harmony.'

Ingredients: 2 oz Rye Whiskey, 0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth, 0.5 oz Dry Vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters, Maraschino Cherry, Lemon Twist Recipe: Combine ingredients as usual but split the vermouth portion between sweet and dry.

Rob Roy

Traverse the Atlantic and replace rye with Scotch whisky for a smoky twist known as the Rob Roy. It's like putting on a kilt and playing the bagpipes, except you're sipping sophistication.

Ingredients: 2 oz Scotch Whisky, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters, Maraschino Cherry, Lemon Twist Recipe: Mix as you would a Manhattan, but with that delightful Scotch whisky taking the lead.

In case you forgot basics how to make Manhattan

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Manhattan

What is the best time to enjoy a Manhattan cocktail?

The Manhattan cocktail is versatile and can be enjoyed at all times. However, it's commonly served as an aperitif or after dinner drink.

What type of rye whiskey is best for a Manhattan?

There is no definitive answer as the whiskey plays a key role in the flavours of the cocktail, it mainly depends on an individual's palate. However, some popular choices among bartenders include Rittenhouse Rye, Sazerac Rye, and Bulleit Rye.

Is there a vegan variant of the Manhattan cocktail?

Yes, the traditional Manhattan cocktail recipe can be considered a vegan drink as it doesn't contain any animal products.

Can I add another spirit to my Manhattan cocktail?

Technically you can, but it may alter the traditional taste profile. If you're feeling adventurous, experimenting with different spirits could offer a refreshing twist.

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