The Manhattan is a pillar of the classic cocktails; it’s on the IBA’s (International Bartenders Association) Unforgettable list. An easy cocktail to master, the Manhattan cocktail ingredients consist of just 3 familiar parts; whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Don’t let this spirit forward cocktail intimidate you though; it’s a smooth, sweet and oh-so-tasty drink you’ll want to add to your arsenal for sure.
Fill your glass with a couple of cubes of ice to keep it cold for longer
Stirring chills your drink while not diluting as much as it would when shaking
Add a little cherry juice, it accentuates the cherry aromas in the rye whiskey
Fill a mixing glass with ice
Add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters
Stir for about 30 seconds until cold
Strain into a chilled coupe
Express the oils from an orange peel over the top of the glass, then drop it into the drink as garnish
How to make the best Manhattan cocktail?
Being an IBA cocktail, you’d assume a Manhattan recipe drink needs a mixologist to whip it up. On the contrary, what will blow you away is how easy this is to make! For a cocktail that’s whiskey-based, it’s surprisingly mellow and sweet. The rye whiskey offers vanilla and oak notes, along with the sweet and spicy flavours of vermouth and bitter notes to finish.
Mixing up the best Manhattan cocktail has been popular in bars worldwide since the late 1800s, with a surge in popularity in the 60s. It all started at New York City’s The Manhattan Club, (a social club filled with the well-to-dos) and has been enjoyed unchanged since then! We love a twist however so try the Winter Manhattan and Italian Manhattan.
For the best Manhattan cocktail, you’ll need a decent rye whiskey to start things off. We love Wild Turkey Rye. This Kentucky distilled rye is aged for a minimum of four years, giving it bold vanilla and spice notes that deliver a spicy, citrus flavour. To sweeten your serve, the amber coloured Cinzano Rosso is the perfect vermouth. This fortified wine adds a sweet infusion of bitterness to the sip with hits of spice. Our third ingredient is bitters. Dashes of aromatic bitters make this cosmopolitan drink a showstopper. The herbal, bitter notes bring together all the complexity for this fabulous cocktail. To complete the perfect serve, finish with a cherry on top. A Maraschino cherry on a skewer adds the final sweet and nutty kick, almost amaretto-like.
Quick question: bourbon or rye?
So they’re both whiskeys, but what’s the difference between rye and bourbon? Rye is made from rye and bourbon from corn mash. A rye whiskey offers a spicier sip compared to bourbon, which has richer caramel and vanilla notes and delivers a sweeter cocktail. Making your best Manhattan cocktail is personal, so we’ll leave the bourbon vs rye choice up to you.
Recipe tips for the best Manhattan cocktail
- Stirring your mix properly is key to making the best Manhattan cocktail. Use solid cubes of ice, not crushed pieces which will melt and dilute your drink quickly. Unless of course you prefer a drink that’s a little less boozy. Stir for a good 30 seconds for an icy-cold sip before straining.
- Vermouth is similar to wine, in the way it does oxidise over time once opened. Keep it well chilled in the fridge for up to 2 months, then replace it. A clever way to keep track is to write the date you opened it on the bottle. This will insure you’re pouring the best cocktail.
- If you’re sweet-toothed, add a few drops of the cherry liquid from the jar to sweeten your drink to your taste.