- Food: Manhattan Cocktail
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Are you a fan of a classic Manhattan Cocktail? Yes, I do. When we’re out and about, one of my go-to cocktails is a Manhattan.
I’ve been honing my classic cocktail repertoire and have decided it’s time to learn how to make a perfect Manhattan at home.
In New York, Manhattans were served as early as the 1870s, so I’m almost 150 years late to the party. This Punch article, which looks at how top bartenders make Manhattans, gave me some tips on how to make the best one.
The good news is that, despite their opulence, Manhattans are one of the most straightforward cocktails to prepare. Only three items are required (plus a cherry garnish). The key is to use high-quality components that complement each other.
You’ll be enjoying a superb Manhattan cocktail in no time once you have those. Because Manhattans should always be stirred rather than shaken, there’s no need to break out the cocktail shaker for these. Cheers!
Ingredients in Manhattan
The best Manhattan cocktails are made with just four simple components that work well together. In the recipe below, you’ll find my recommended ingredients. Remember to have ice on hand for stirring!
Rye whiskey or Bourbon whiskey
Both rye and bourbon are varieties of whiskey, however, their compositions differ. Bourbon is mellower and sweeter than rye, which has more spice.
The majority of bartenders choose rye, but it’s up to you to decide. Keep in mind that the vermouth will help to cool the fire.
For these cocktails, I used Bulleit rye. It’s usually a good decision, and the results were fantastic!
Vermouth is a wine that has been “fortified” (that is, made stronger with the addition of brandy) and “aromatized” (that is, infused with herbs and spices).
We want to use “sweet” vermouth for a classic Manhattan, which isn’t all that sweet. Sweet vermouths are dark red or brown in color, rather than being clear.
Dolin and Carpano Antica are two of my favorite selections. Dolin is the softer and smoother of the two, but it doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting. It’s also less costly.
Vermouth storage tip: Because vermouth is a wine, it will go bad over time, just like any other wine (but will keep longer than a regular bottle, thanks to the brandy). Bottles of vermouth that have been opened will last for one to two months in the refrigerator.
Are you looking for a way to use up your vermouth before it goes bad? What an aperitif, do as the Europeans do and sip vermouth over ice. With an orange twist, it’s even better.
You can’t go wrong with Angostura bitters because they’re classic and easy to find. Bitters are steeped with proprietary herbs and spices, similar to vermouth. They’re concentrated, though, and only a couple of dashes provide a ton of flavor.
For garnish, a cocktail cherry
Go ahead and splurge on quality cherries if you’re serious about your Manhattans. Luxardo cherries are my favorite. They’re far better than regular maraschino cherries and last a long time.
These cherries should be kept in a dark, cold cabinet rather than the refrigerator, where they tend to crystallize. Luxardo cherries can be found in well-stocked liquor stores and on Amazon (affiliate link).
Tip: Add a smidgeon of the sweetened cherry nectar from the jar to your mixing glass if you want your Manhattan to be a little sweeter.
The Best Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
The Manhattan is quite simple to make. This is how you do it:
- Gather your ingredients, add ice to a mixing glass, and set aside a coupe or martini glass.
- In a mixing glass, combine the whiskey and vermouth. Add a few dashes of bitters to the mix.
- Stir, stir, and stir some more.
- Fill your drinking glass halfway with the mixture.
|Time to prepare: 5 minutes
5 minutes in total 1 cocktail
This simple recipe will teach you how to make a traditional Manhattan cocktail. To make the greatest Manhattan you’ve ever had, all you need are high-quality ingredients and perfect technique.
If you want to prepare more than one cocktail, double the components (just use a suitably-sized mixing glass).
- Ice, for stirring
- 2 ounces rye or bourbon (I like Bulleit Rye)
- 1-ounce sweet vermouth (I like Dolin or Carpano Antica)
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 Luxardo cherry or another cocktail cherry, for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS For MANHATTAN COCKTAIL
- Fill a mixing glass with ice to a height of a few inches. Combine the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass. Stir for about 30 seconds in a circular motion, or until the drink is very cold (if you want a drink with less bite, stir longer).
- Fill a coupe or martini glass halfway with the liquid. Serve with a cocktail cherry as a garnish. Enjoy.
- TIP FOR MEASUREMENT: Two ounces equals 1/4 cup. For measuring little volumes of liquid, I like to use this stainless steel jigger (affiliate link).
- CHANGE IT UP: You like a twist of orange or lemon (or both, which is known as “rabbit ears”), even though it’s not essential. If you want to serve your Manhattan on the rocks rather than up, use a large ice cube that melts slowly instead of many small cubes.