Best Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan cocktail recipe

Best Manhattan Cocktail

Ah the Manhattan. A heavyweight cocktail that has stood the test of time. Named after the New York City borough, the Manhattan cocktail is spirit forward recipe calling with Whiskey, vermouth and bitters. 

One of the earliest records of the drink traces it back to 1884 in a cocktail book written by O.H. Byron’s titled ‘The Modern Bartender’s Guide’. Yet some variations of been documented as far back as 1860. 

One particular recipe at the time described it as “three or four drops of angostura bitters, ditto of plain syrup; add half a liqueur glass of vermouth, half wine glassful of Scotch whiskey”.

Some popular history would suggest it was created for Lady Randolph Churchill, Mother of Winston, at the Manhattan Club in New York however this story has been debunked due to the fact Lady Randolph was in France and pregnant at the time. 

Similar to the Manhattan Cocktail is the Old Fashioned cocktail recipe and both have been the blueprint for countless new drinks and creations.

For the Manhattan cocktail ingredients, traditionally Rye is the whiskey of choice but Canadian whisky, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are also commonly used. 

Your vermouth choice can drastically change the DNA of the drink however. Whilst a perfect Manhattan should have equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, most bartenders, including myself, will only make a sweet version (sweet vermouth only).

Personally Antica Formula is my go to choice with Rittenhouse Rye and Boker bitters. I feel the bitters add wonderful coffee notes to the drink.

Manhattan cocktail recipe


This sweet version of the Manhattan cocktail is much prefered by us and many others. We chose bourbon but you could always up to for a Rye to make this perfect after dinner drink.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 4 mins
Total Time 6 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Cocktail
Servings 1 Cocktail
Calories 191 kcal


  • Mixing glass
  • Bar Spoon
  • Julep Strainer
  • Coup Glass


  • 60 ml Bourbon Whiskey
  • 30 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 Dash Boker Bitters


  • Fill your mixing glass with ice to the top and stir to bring the mixing vessel to a good temperature.
  • Discard any water that has been created in the mixing vessel and then add your whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters.
  • Stir for up to 45 seconds to reach optimum dilution
  • Using your julep strainer to hold the ice in place. strain into a chilled glass
  • garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve!
Keyword classic cocktails, Manhattan

Manhattan Cocktail Variations

Some of the most popular variations are the black Manhattan cocktail recipe which swaps the vermouth for the amaro Averna and adds a dash of orange bitters. We also like the brandy version for something different.

Actually though one of my favourite options is the batch the cocktail up and barrel age it! I use a small personal barrel and aged the cocktail for around a month. I feel this is enough time to add some woody notes to drink without too much oxidisation. 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
More To Explore
perfect espresso martini cocktail
Cocktail Recipes

How to Make the Perfect Espresso Martini Recipe

The Espresso Martini. This caffeine-fueled cocktail can be traced back to 1983.  Legendary bartender Dick Bradsell created the espresso martini at the Soho Brasserie, London

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about all the bite-sized food and drink content.