French Manhattan

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Cocktail Type


Front view of Manhattan Cocktails garnished with fresh cherries

This French Manhattan Cocktail recipe is to be treated with care – only ever make it if you are happy to have your perception of the cocktail-related status quo shaken to the core… 

What is a French Manhattan cocktail?

Oh, only a daring little spin on the classic Manhattan cocktail that will seriously have you doubting your allegiance to the original! See, there are many types of Manhattan, but once you’ve had a Manhattan with Grand Marnier and proper cognac in the mix you will be looking at this drink very differently. There is just something dapper about it – like a jaunty gent in a suit and cravat that whistles as he strolls down a foggy street in Paris without a care in the world.  

French Manhattan recipe

Here is what you’ll need to create this Parisian Manhattan cocktail that comes to the party with heaps of je ne sais quoi and refuses to sit in the corner… 





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Add the cognac, vermouth, orange liqueur, and bitters to a cocktail mixing glass


Fill the mixing glass or cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice and stir briskly until well-chilled


Strain into a chilled serving glass 


Garnish with a cherry, and serve

To stir or to shake?

You’ll notice that the steps of our recipe call for a stirring approach, rather than shaking. This has been done for a very good reason. See, while shaking can be a quicker way of combining cocktail ingredients and also works as a treat to get a drink nice and cold at top speed, it can also influence the look of a drink.  

In the case of a French Manhattan, the drink will almost definitely go all cloudy if you were to shake it up with the ice and strain it into a serving glass. Instead, we recommend taking your time with a mixing glass and a stirring spoon. This will yield a nice, smooth, crystal-clear French Manhattan – exactly the way the drink was intended to be enjoyed.  


The Manhattan Cocktail is a classic drink that features rye whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters as ingredients.  

Like the French Manhattan Cocktail, Italian Manhattan Cocktail, and Mexican Manhattan Cocktail, the Perfect Manhattan is a spin-off of the classic Manhattan. The original drink features rye whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters; whereas the Perfect Manhattan halves the sweet vermouth into equal portions of sweet and dry vermouth.  

The story goes that the drink was not named after the city, but rather after the Manhattan Club in New York. There are quite a few conflicting origin stories behind this popular cocktail, but the one that is most often cited is that it was first poured by one Dr Iain Marshal, who was not a bartender, but rather a guest at a party at the Manhattan Club. He was purportedly being hosted by Winston Churchill's mother when he decided to get in on the drink-mixing action. 

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