Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

The Manhattan drink—perfectly constructed with bourbon, vermouth, and bitters.

Dating back to the 19th century, The Manhattan cocktail is one of the most well-known, classic cocktails of all time. With just sweet vermouth, bitters, and whiskey, you can just about order one at any bar or restaurant and get it made correctly (of course there are always exceptions).

Not to be confused with the perfect Manhattan cocktail—the same drink, but made with both sweet and dry vermouth. It’s a touch lighter in color and bitterness. Traditionally, the Manhattan drink is made with rye whiskey, however over the years, bourbon has become just as popular.

How to Make A Manhattan Cocktail

How to Make A Manhattan Cocktail

  1. ALWAYS stir with ice, never shake. Whiskey cocktails should always be stirred, otherwise you’ll introduce unwanted oxygen into the drink. The ice will add just enough water to take the burn off the whiskey without diluting your cocktail.
  2. Pick up some good vermouth. There’s no point in wasting nice whiskey with cheap vermouth. I like Dolin or Punt E Mes.
  3. Experiment with different types of bitters and garnishes. Angostura bitters and a Luxardo cherry garnish is the most traditional approach, but I like to switch it up with cherry bitters, orange bitters, Peychaud’s bitters and an orange peel garnish. I like the subtle twists that add different aromas and flavors.

P.S. Shoutout to my wonderful Nana for giving me her vintage cocktail glasses. They must be twice as old as I am but I swear they will never go out of style. Putting them to some serious good use.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: whiskey
  • Cuisine: cocktail



  • 3 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry


  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve immediately.