How to make the classic Manhattan cocktail

Making A Classic Manhattan

The Manhattan. In a word, classic.

When you think of sophisticated cocktails the Manhattan should be first on your mind. We’ll tell you why.

Making A Classic Manhattan

via // How gorgeous can one cocktail get?

The Manhattan Cocktail. In a word, classic. The drink has been around for over a century and has managed to maintain its popularity throughout the years. There have been countless takes on the famous drink; therefore, making it difficult to pin down the original recipe or origin.

The tales about the creation of the Manhattan begin with the drink being created in New York City’s Manhattan Club when Lady Randolph Churchill hosted a party there in the 1870’s. However, this is most likely false as she was supposedly pregnant and in Europe at the time.

Another story about the origin is much more plausible. William F. Mulhall, a bartender at the famous Hoffman House, wrote in the 1880’s that “The Manhattan cocktail was invented by a man named Black, who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the 1860s.”

Over the years, many versions of drinks similar to the Manhattan were created. In 1948, in David A. Embury’s book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, a recipe was published that is now considered the “classic” Manhattan Cocktail. The recipe stated “5 parts American whiskey, 1 part Italian vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters, stirred with ice, strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry.”

Even though the recipe for the Manhattan has been debated over the years, the main ingredients in the cocktail have remained the same: whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. Rye whiskey was first used in the cocktail and later Canadian whiskey due to Prohibition. As the drink has evolved over the centuries, many different whiskeys have been used. Sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters were used in the original cocktail, but spins on the drink have also used dry vermouth and different kinds of bitters. Now lastly, the cherry on top! Maraschino cherries were introduced in the U.S. around 1900 and have since then been used to garnish the drink.

The Manhattan can be served straight or on the rocks and in a martini glass, lowball, or in a coupe, which truly makes the cocktail a versatile drink. Additionally, the Manhattan is stirred, not shaken. There are many variations on the Manhattan including cocktails like the Rob Roy, which uses blended or single malt Scotch Whiskey instead of Rye Whiskey.

Here’s how you make a Classic Manhattan.


The Manhattan

Yields: 2 Servings

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 2 Ounces Rye Whiskey
  • ½ Ounce Dry Vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino Cherry and/or Lemon Peel for Garnish

Glassware and Items You’ll Need:

  • Martini, Lowball, or Coupe Glass
  • Jigger
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer
  • Bar Spoon



The Manhattan: Pour ingredients into a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir well. Strain into a chilled glass of choice. Garnish with a cherry, lemon peel, or both.

Nutritional Content

1 serving approximately contains: Calories (kcal) 130 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Potassium (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 3 Protein (g) 0 Sodium (mg) 1

How to make the classic Manhattan cocktail


Hand Crafted: Classic Cocktail Recipes from the Brio Smart Life Blog


Corinne, cocktail blogger at Brio Smart Life

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Corinne – Content Curator

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