Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

Smoky, smooth and strong, the Bourbon Manhattan is a classy and sophisticated way to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

They say it never rains in Southern California. They would be wrong. Last few weekends here in Los Angeles have been fairly dreary, as a few different storm fronts blew in one after the other. Anywhere else and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But in SoCal, rain might as well be snow. Other cities I’ve lived in I’ve never thought twice about inclement weather. It happens. I grab an umbrella or throw on some rubbers (not those kind) or if I’m driving I’ve got my wipers wiping at my windshield. But when it storms in the City of Angels, I stay home.

On one recent gloomy Saturday evening I had been very indecisive. Poking through all the bottles of my home bar and trying to pick something to drink was becoming a chore that evening. Usually if I can’t think of something to make, I’ll just skip the drink and have some milk and cookies. But this night I was determined to make something special. It didn’t need to be so far off the beaten path that I’d never even heard of it… but I was craving the familiar and the new, all at once.

Then I saw my bottle of bourbon. I’m pretty new to exploring the wonders of this American made spirit, so it got me thinking about what I could make with it. And then I saw my vermouths, and the sweet seemed to stick out and catch my attention. Hey there, my mixer seemed to telepathically say to me. Feeling sweet?

I was hoping I had only imagined my booze communicating with me, especially since I hadn’t imbibed at all that day. Just to be on the safe side, I grabbed the sweet vermouth and bourbon, knowing this was the path my cocktail would take that rainy evening. A Manhattan sounded perfect, but I wasn’t in the mood for rye. I stirred a few ounces of each ingredient over ice, along with a couple of dashes of bitters. As I sat in my favorite chair, I sipped on my smoky and smooth Bourbon Manhattan, lazing the evening away and watching our cat stare out at the water falling from the sky.

A perfect cocktail for the perfect, rain spattered night.

What is the Best Bourbon to Use in a Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail?

If your bourbon isn’t made, distilled or aged on American soil, it ain’t bourbon. For decades many people have confused whiskey with the spirit we’re mixing our cocktail together with tonight. I prefer my bourbon to be distilled where it was first born, Kentucky. Aged in oak barrels with hints of vanilla, caramel and other spices, you don’t need to spend a ton of money for a tasty experience. Some of the more famous brands of bourbon are also fairly inexpensive and make a pretty great drink.

Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail
Servings 2 servings
servings 5 minutes


  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • Aromatic bitters
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • Ice cubes


  • Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice cubes.
  • Pour in the bourbon and sweet vermouth.
  • Add a few dashes of aromatic bitters to taste (typically 2-4 dashes).
  • Stir the mixture gently for 30 seconds to chill and dilute the cocktail without making it cloudy.
  • Strain the cocktail into two chilled martini glasses or rocks glasses over a single large ice cube if preferred.
  • Garnish each glass with a maraschino cherry.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.03g | Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.04mg
Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

FAQs & Tips

Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

Bourbon Manhattan Variations

If the strong and smooth taste of an elegant Bourbon Manhattan has piqued your interest in other, similar drinks, then let us at Twist & Toast guide you to a few recipes you can try. And after you’ve had a few different cocktails that favored what we made today, explore the site and find some new favorites.

  • Martinez – One of the original cocktails, the Martinez is a drink many believe led to the Martini and Manhattan.
  • Vermouth Cocktail – Sweet vermouth takes center stage in this complex tasting tipple.
  • Tequila Manhattan – A Southwestern take on the Big Apple inspired classic.
  • Manhattan – Give the iconic cocktail a spin with our delicious recipe tonight.

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