Manhattan Cocktail

updated Oct 19, 2023
Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

The classic cocktail made by stirring rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters together.

Serves1

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
angled shot of a single manhattan in a martini glass, on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

A fully stocked bar wouldn’t be complete without the ingredients to whip up a Manhattan, a classic cocktail that’s one of the cornerstone whiskey mixed drinks. There are only three ingredients, but its simplicity is deceptive. There’s a magic that happens when this trio plays together. The range of flavors present run from caramel to dark fruit to cloves to vanilla.

Ingredients in a Manhattan

As cocktails come, the Manhattan is pretty straightforward. It has three ingredients, each with its own flavor profile:

  1. Spiritous: Some versions of the recipe for the Manhattan call for bourbon whiskey, some suggest Canadian. This version calls for rye, which was very likely used by the bartenders who made it first. The spiciness of the rye gives the drink a beautiful structure and finish.
  2. Sweet: Sweet flavors come in the form of sweet vermouth, a fortified red wine.
  3. Bitter: Aromatic bitters, in this case Angostura, bring some depth to the cocktail.

History of the Manhattan Cocktail

The sharp, full-bodied combination of aged American whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters was likely first minted sometime in the latter half of the 1800s, most likely at the Manhattan Club in New York. Its exact origins are unknown, but clearly the bartender who created the Manhattan was on to something, because this drink has truly stood the test of time.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Make a Manhattan

  • Chill the glass. Since this drink is served up (not on ice), you’ll want to have a cold glass that will keep the Manhattan colder longer.
  • Mix the drink. Stir the rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters with ice in a mixing glass until it’s really cold.
  • Strain. Strain the drink into the chilled glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry or orange twist if you’d like.

This classic Manhattan is a drink you’ll want to linger over, to savor. There are other versions of Manhattans to explore if you love the classic. For a sweet treat, try the Ultimate Dessert Manhattan. For one without bitters, there’s My Mom’s Manhattan.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

The classic cocktail made by stirring rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters together.

Prep time 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces

    bonded straight rye whiskey, such as Rittenhouse

  • 1 ounce

    Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth

  • 3 dashes

    Angostura bitters

  • Ice

  • Cocktail cherry or orange twist, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place a coupe cocktail glass in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.

  2. Place 2 ounces rye whiskey, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, and 3 dashes Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway. Stir with a long-handled spoon until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds. Pour through a strainer into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry or orange twist if desired.