Manhattan Cocktail Recipe


Most reports agree that a New York bartender invented the Manhattan cocktail in the late 19th century, sometime in the 1880s. A Manhattan-based club was the first to stir this unique blend of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters.

The drink quickly spread across the world. Its popularity has ebbed and flowed throughout the years, now making a strong resurgence.

This article has everything you need to know about the perfect Manhattan cocktail recipe. We’ll go through the ingredients in detail, discuss the best preparation methods, and follow up with a host of additional information.

What Is a Manhattan Cocktail?

Manhattan Cocktail

A Manhattan cocktail is a simple combination of three things, whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Once poured, most prefer a cherry garnish.

This drink combines the rich whiskey flavor with sweetness from the vermouth and a hint of floral notes from the bitters. It is a way to spruce up a good whiskey without changing the profile completely.

Most bartenders and mixologists serve it in a cocktail glass like a martini, lowball, or coupe glass. A martini was more traditional, but many places have now switched to a coupe glass instead. A lowball glass works if someone wants a Manhattan cocktail on the rocks.

Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

The whiskey most people prefer in a Manhattan drink is rye, thanks to its spicier profile. Bourbon is another widely-used whiskey to use in Manhattans. Sticking to these robust whiskeys is what this drink is all about.

A popular variant of the Manhattan drink uses Scotch whiskey instead, but that’s not traditional. Most consider Canadian whiskey’s profile too clean for the Manhattan cocktail.

The next ingredient is the vermouth. It is critical to use sweet vermouth. This vermouth balances the whiskey flavor, providing a balanced take that makes the Manhattan cocktail what it is. A dry vermouth is typically not used in a Manhattan since it lacks the flavor needed to balance the whiskey.

The third ingredient used is bitters. Angostura bitters are what you should reach for when making a Manhattan. The floral essence adds the final touch. Use it sparingly to prevent overpowering the other flavors.

Finally, the typical garnish in rye or bourbon Manhattan drink is a cherry. A brandied cherry is the right fit for nearly any Manhattan. One popular brand is Luxardo, but other companies make similar brandied cherries. 

Some people prefer a lemon twist, but that isn’t considered a classic part of Manhattan cocktail ingredients for most people.

Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

A Manhattan cocktail is a simple combination of three things, whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Once poured, most prefer a cherry garnish. This drink combines the rich whiskey flavor with sweetness from the vermouth and a hint of floral notes from the bitters. It is a way to spruce up a good whiskey without changing the profile completely.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Beverage
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 205 kcal


  • 2 oz Rye or bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry


  • Get a mixing glass and fill it with ice
  • Pour the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters into the ice-filled glass
  • Stir until the ingredients are blended and chilled
  • Pour into a serving glass, such as a martini, lowball, or coupe glass
  • Garnish with the brandied cherry on a cocktail pick
  • Enjoy!
Keyword Bourbon Manhattan, manhattan cocktail, vermouth

Tips & Tricks To Make the Best Manhattan Cocktail

If you want to make the best Manhattan possible, stick to the traditional recipe. This recipe uses rye or bourbon whiskey and sweet vermouth. Most people prefer the edgier rye profile in Manhattans, but bourbon Manhattans are also popular.

Don’t skimp on the vermouth. Using cheap vermouth in a cocktail with quality whiskey can result in a subpar result. Since the vermouth is a vital component of the Manhattan cocktail, it’s worth stepping up to the table with a decent bottle.

Avoid stirring it too long or shaking it in a cocktail mixer. You want it to be chilled, but if you let it go too long, too much water gets in the drink. Keep all those special notes by quickly stirring and pouring.

Manhattan Cocktail

Another area people can ruin a good Manhattan is with bitters. The flavor of Angostura bitters is perfect, but just two or three drops is enough. Going overboard can change the drink’s flavor dramatically.

If you want to pour a Manhattan drink but want to try something different, you can choose from many variants.

A popular one is called a Rob Roy, made using Scotch whiskey instead of rye or bourbon. Or use part sweet vermouth and part dry vermouth to create a Perfect Mountain. Change the Manhattan recipe to two parts vermouth and one part whiskey for a Reverse Mountain.

These variants might turn off some Manhattan cocktail enthusiasts, but they’re also a way to shake things up if you find yourself sick of the classic flavor.

Manhattan Nutrition Information

Manhattan cocktails are light on the extras. Because of that simplicity, the overall calories are low compared to other cocktails made with sweeteners or calorie-filled bases.

Of course, a Manhattan drink is still an alcoholic cocktail and doesn’t provide top-tier nutrition. But it’s better than many alternatives.

Let’s break it down by ingredient. Whiskey has up to 80 calories in one ounce and little other nutritional value, except a negligible amount of carbohydrates. Vermouth is more complex and can differ based on the brand, but generally speaking, vermouth has about 45 calories per ounce, with 2.7 mg sodium, 3.4 g carbohydrates, and 200 mg calcium.

Manhattan Cocktail

The nutritional impact of the bitters is inconsequential, while the garnish cherry typically adds about 10 calories, 3 g carbohydrates, and 3 g sugar.

If you follow our Manhattan cocktail recipe with two ounces of whiskey, one ounce of bourbon, a couple of dashes of bitters, and garnished with a cherry, here is the total estimated nutrition profile:

  • 205 calories
  • 2.7 mg sodium
  • 6.4 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g sugar
  • 200 mg calcium

Conclusion: Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Take a step back in time and transport yourself to a 19th-century New York club by pouring up a Manhattan. The recipe is simple, with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. Stir the ingredients together, then garnish with a brandied cherry.

By using this simple ingredient list and quickly stirring without allowing too much ice to melt, you can create an incredible Manhattan cocktail. Just remember to use high-quality ingredients to get the best result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Recipesnation © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.