How to Make a Manhattan

There’s an easy way to enjoy a taste of the Big Apple from the comfort of your own home with a classic Manhattan cocktail!

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So, my son just moved to Manhattan for fashion school, and while I’m sure he’s not imbibing yet, I’m celebrating him (and missing him) by toasting with this classic cocktail. It has a long and rich history from the historical New York City, having been around since the 1860s. It’s one of several drinks named after one of the city’s boroughs (except poor Staten Island doesn’t seem to have a namesake cocktail. Yet.). With the warmth of the whiskey and the smoothness of the vermouth, I can almost close my Midwestern eyes and imagine the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps (although I hope my son does so he can make those 8 a.m. classes!)

The Manhattan shares its whiskey heart with other drinks like the Old Fashioned, the Sazerac and the Whiskey Highball, but it’s truly in a league of its own. The hint of bitters enhances the whiskey and vermouth, creating a hard-to-forget concoction.

Why You Will Love This Cocktail Recipe

If you want to feel cosmopolitan without living in the city, this is the perfect drink for you. You don’t have to trade in your house and yard for an efficiency apartment off 27th Street to still enjoy the classic Manhattan.

Manhattan Drink ingredients
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • A mixing glass or the bottom part of a cocktail shaker
  • A strainer
  • A bar spoon
  • A jigger or measuring tool
  • Optional, a cherry pitter


  • 2 oz of Rye whiskey
  • 1 oz of Sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Optional: a dash of Orange bitters
  • Garnish: 1 Maraschino cherry


  • Add ice to a martini glass and let it chill while you gather and mix the other ingredients.
  • Take another glass filled with ice and add in the rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. To give it an extra note, you may also throw in one dash of orange bitters.
  • Mix these ingredients together until fully chilled, which will usually take no more than 30 seconds.
  • Take out the ice from your pre-cooled martini glass. Carefully strain your blended mix into this now-chilled glass. Top it off with a maraschino cherry


Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.02g | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 0.3g | Iron: 0.01mg

Tips & Tricks for a Perfect Manhattan

  • The type of whiskey will shape the character of the cocktail. Rye whiskey is traditional in a Manhattan cocktail and offers a spicier edge, but any good bourbon will work.
  • This is a drink that should ALWAYS be stirred, not shaken.
  • Although I recommend Angostura bitters, feel free to experiment with different brands and types.
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Does the order matter when mixing this cocktail?

Actually, it does. Start with the rye whiskey, then add the sweet vermouth, and finally, the bitters.

What kind of glass should I use?

A martini glass is traditional, but there’s never any need to stick with tradition (and if you want to embody the free spirit of NYC).

What are bitters?

Bitters are neutral alcohols infused with herbs, fruits, roots, and spices. Angostura bitters are a brand made by a company in Trinidad and Tobago that uses a particular combination of gentian root, herbs, and spices.

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Manhattan Drink Variations Worth Trying

  1. Dry Manhattan swaps out sweet vermouth for dry.
  2. Perfect Manhattan uses both dry and sweet vermouth.
  3. Manhattan Mocktail uses non-alcoholic whiskey and vermouth substitutes.
  4. Brandy Manhattan swaps whiskey for brandy.

How to Store

You can easily prepare a pitcher of Manhattans before a party. Just wait to add the ice until you’re ready to serve. The drink also stores well in the fridge for up to two days.

When you’re ready to serve, give the mix a good stir with ice to cool it down, then strain into a martini glass and top with a cherry.

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