Manhattan Cocktail


It's never the wrong time for this booze-forward classic cocktail.

Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
1 drink

Few booze-forward cocktails are as famous as the Manhattan, whose origin story (like so many other pre-Prohibition classics) is unclear at best. Historians and mixologists generally agree that the Manhattan recipe was first published in 1882 in Harry Johnson's Bartenders Manual, and legend has it that the drink was originally created for Lady Randolph Churchill (Winston Churchill's mother), during a party she hosted at New York City's iconic Manhattan Club in 1874.

While the Manhattan traditionally calls for rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, bourbon is an increasingly popular choice in bars across the United States. It's worth noting, however, that using bourbon will make for a sweeter Manhattan, but that flavor can be tempered using dry vermouth and orange bitters instead of sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. A Manhattan made with Scotch whiskey, on the other hand, is just a classic Rob Roy; want to swap in amaro for sweet vermouth? You've got yourself a Black Manhattan. It's important to use a Luxardo cherry instead of a Maraschino cherry in this classic cocktail, as the latter won't impart the complex, spicy, almost nutty flavor that fits perfectly with the rest of the drink's flavor profile.

Manhattans are also easy to bottle and prepare in advance of a party — just ask Dave Arnold and Don Lee of Existing Conditions in New York City. The duo recommends using a swing-top bottle to store a mixture of whiskey, vermouth, one cup of water, and bitters in the refrigerator an hour before serving, leaving you free to host instead of playing the role of frazzled bartender.



  1. Fill a pint glass with ice. Add rye, vermouth, and bitters and stir well.

  2. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with maraschino cherry.

    Manhattan Cocktail
    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Thom Driver


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