The classic Manhattan cocktail was the most famous cocktail shortly after its birth at the Manhattan club in New York City in the 1880s. Over the years, it has fallen in and out of popularity but found its place as a mainstay in most bars during the craft cocktail renaissance.
The classic Manhattan cocktail mixes American whiskey, Italian vermouth, with a few dashes of aromatic bitters. It is a timeless and tasty drink—the definition of what a good cocktail should be. It’s spirit forward nature makes it the perfect drink to sip on when the weather starts to get a little cooler.
Classic Manhattan, serves 1
Building this cocktail is super easy. Add all your ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. To stir like a pro, let your fingers do the work—not your wrist! Your barspoon should be between your index and middle finger. I’m a weirdo and I stir using my pinky and ring finger.
Once you get comfortable with the technique, you can do it whatever way is most comfortable for you. I highly encourage personal style when developing your bar techniques.
Twirl it around the inside of your mixing glass, using your index finger to pull the spoon toward you and your middle finger to push it away (or whatever fingers you’re using).
Stir for about 30-45 seconds then place your strainer over the mixing glass and strain into your serving glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. These are my absolute favorite cherries to use in cocktails.
The classic Manhattan cocktail is strong, sweet, aromatic, and slightly spicy from the rye whiskey. Some people prefer to make their Manhattans with bourbon instead, which is perfectly acceptable. Historically it is made with rye whiskey and I tend to like this variation more because it dries it out a little and has a spicier, edgier profile.
Using bourbon will make a sweeter and mellower drink, but still beautiful and totally delicious nonetheless! So please mix whatever your heart pleases! Will you be trying a classic Manhattan cocktail this fall? Let us know in the comments below. Happy fall, everyone! xo Natalie
P.S. Love whiskey? Try Emma’s Classic Hot Toddy recipe.
Classic Manhattan Cocktail
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Luxardo maraschino cherry for garnish
Add all your ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir.
Stir for about 30-45 seconds then place your strainer over the mixing glass and strain into your serving glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.