The Manhattan Cocktail

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Alongside the Martini, the Manhattan has a reputation for being one of the more sophisticated classic cocktails. The hint of rich redness provided by the bitters mixed with the amber of the Rye yields an almost mahogany hue. The fact that it is served up in a martini or Nick and Nora glass with a thin stem adds yet another layer of elegance, as does the friendly flavor rivalry between the spicy rye and sweet vermouth. The result is a complex balance of flavors and barrel notes that has made the Manhattan a favorite across the world for over a hundred years.

One of the unseen perks of learning to build a Manhattan is that mastering this one drink means understanding the backbone of a whole host of other classic cocktails, including the Martini, the Vieux Carré, and the Negroni. The Manhattan’s specs (2 oz of spirit to 1 oz of vermouth or amaro and maybe a dash or two of bitters) is reproduced and refashioned in dozens of classic drinks. 


The Manhattan Cocktail

Learn this classic and let the Manhattan be your gateway to a family of countless cocktails that bartenders love to call elegant and timeless.
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail


  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey Preferably 100 proof
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth Carpano Antica is a favorite
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters 4 if using a dasher bottle
  • 1 Luxardo cherry


  • Add two dashes of angostura bitters Into a glass mixing pitcher or cocktail tin.
  • Using a jigger, add 1 oz of sweet vermouth.
  • Add 2 oz of 50 proof Rye.
  • Add ice cubes to the pitcher until ice is slightly higher than the drink itself.
  • Stir with a bar spoon for approximately 60 revolutions. You will notice the pitcher or tin getting cool.
  • Serve up in a chilled Nick and Nora, coupe, or martini glass.
  • Drop one luxardo cherry and let it settle to the bottom of the drink.


Tips for elevation:
  1. Try adding a dash of orange bitters and include an orange peel as a garnish.
  2. Swap 1oz of the rye with cognac and add two bar spoons of Benedictine to make the classic New Orleans cocktail The Vieux Carré.
Keyword Cocktail, Manhattan

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