How to Make a Manhattan Cocktail

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A Manhattan is easily one of the most famous cocktails in the world. There are no added frills to the classic Manhattan since it’s over 100 years old and is still made the same way it traditionally was back in the day. Try this recipe for a very classic cocktail.

Isn’t it cool to think you can sip on the same vintage cocktail recipe people did so many years ago? That’s what I love so much about these classic cocktails…they’re the inspiration and the base for so many of our artistic cocktails now.

The Manhattan is similar to an old-fashioned in a lot of ways, except it has some vermouth in it and is garnished with a maraschino cherry.

So if you love classic whiskey drinks, try the Manhattan! And if you want a modern twist on this classic, try our popular Red Moon Over Manhattan!

What does this cocktail taste like?

It’s a strong cocktail with some slight bitterness and herbal undertones, the Manhattan cocktail has been a long time favorite of whiskey aficionados. But, how do you make a Manhattan cocktail? What’s the history behind this famous drink?

Read on to discover the Manhattan recipe as well as other interesting facts about the Manhattan cocktail. 

History of the Manhattan Cocktail

According to one account, the Manhattan cocktail was invented by a bartender named Black in the 1860s at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street. 

There’s also a story that the cocktail was invented in the 1870s at the Manhattan Club in New York City. The story claims that a doctor invented the cocktail at a banquet in honor of a presidential candidate who was also in attendance.

However, it was later discovered that the lady who supposedly hosted the banquet was overseas at the time, so this account is likely false. 

Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

So, what goes into a Manhattan cocktail? These are the standard ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce of sweet red vermouth
  • A dash of angostura bitters
  • Maraschino (or brandied) cherry as a garnish
  • Sometimes a dash of orange bitters

To make the cocktail, you add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Then, you strain the drink into Manhattan glass and garnish with a cherry.  

What is the Difference Between a Manhattan and Perfect Manhattan? 

You may sometimes notice people ordering a perfect Manhattan instead of a “regular” Manhattan. 

What’s the difference? A regular Manhattan is typically just made with sweet vermouth, while a perfect Manhattan is usually made with half sweet vermouth and halt dry vermouth, making a slight difference in the taste. 

What is the Best Vermouth for Manhattan?

While martinis are typically made from dry vermouth, Manhattans use sweet vermouth. Except for, as we said, with perfect Manhattans. 

Sweet vermouth is a fortified wine that typically works well with the majority of whiskeys. However, with the right whiskey, dry vermouth can sometimes work as well. 

Is a Manhattan Served with Ice? 

If you pour the ingredients of a Manhattan over ice, it’s no longer a Manhattan. You may still have yourself a tasty drink, but the ice can melt and compromise the flavor of the drink, so it’s best served without ice. 

Why Don’t You Shake a Manhattan? 

Although James Bond may prefer his drinks “shaken, not stirred”, to make a good Manhattan, you need to stir it. 

If you shake it, you’ll end up with a cloudy drink that’s topped with a layer of foam. Stirring not only leaves the drink clear to the eye, but also silky on the tongue. 

Manhattan cocktail in a coupe glass with a cherry.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe: Wrap Up 

Now that you have this Manhattan recipe, it’s time to try your hand at making your own Manhattan!

More Classic Cocktails You’ll Love!

How to Make a Negroni

The Bee’s Knees of Cocktails

The Best Gin and Tonic Recipes

How to Make an Old-Fashioned

How to Make a French 75

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How-to Make a Manhattan Cocktail

How-to Make a Manhattan Cocktail

A classic Manhattan cocktail recipe that's easy to make and perfect to sip year round.
4 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 Serving
Calories: 174kcal
Author: Eden


  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • orange peel
  • 1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherries


  • Add the ingredients into a mixing glass and stir with ice.
  • Rub the orange slice around the rim of the glass.
  • Strain the cocktail into the glass and add in a cherry.


Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
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