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.
Meet the 3 Essential Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients
PREP TIME 5 min
Don’t add too much ice or it will dilute your drink too much.
Chill your glass with ice (or in the freezer) ahead of time to keep your drink cooler for longer.
Add in a splash of cherry juice if you like things extra sweet.
Chill your coupe or cocktail glass with ice
Add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters to a jug
Tip the ice out of your glass
Strain the cocktail into your chilled glass and garnish with a cherry, if you like
What is a Manhattan Cocktail?
Being an IBA cocktail, one would assume a Manhattan recipe needs a mixologist to whip it up. On the contrary, what will blow you away is how easy this socialite’s sip is to make!
For a cocktail that’s whiskey based, it’s surprisingly mellow and sweet. One sip offers vanilla and oak notes from the rye whiskey, along with the sweet and spicy flavors of vermouth and some bitter notes to finish.
Mixing up the best Manhattan cocktail has been popular in bars worldwide since it was first created in 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, since then, the original Manhattan has been enjoyed unchanged!
What Manhattan Cocktail ingredients are needed?
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 flavor.
To sweeten your serve, the amber colored Cinzano Rosso is the perfect vermouth. This fortified wine adds a subtle but sweet infusion of bitterness to the sip with hits of herbs and spices.
Our third ingredient is bitters. Dashes of aromatic bitters make this cosmopolitan drink a showstopper. The spicy, herbal and bitter notes bring together all the complexity for this fabulous cocktail.
For an optional extra that completes 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. The juice infuses, accentuating the cherry aromas from the vermouth and rye whiskey. Add in a splash of the cherry juice too, if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
The best Manhattan Cocktail recipe
Want to know how to make the best Manhattan? What’s important with a stirred cocktail like this one is ensuring your glass is properly chilled, keeping your drink cold for longer. Stirring a cocktail prevents your drink from diluting as quickly, as shaking cocktails causes the ice to melt swiftly. As we don’t want to add too much water to our Manhattan recipe but we still want it extra chilled, a good trick is to fill your coupe or cocktail glass with a couple of cubes of ice before mixing your Manhattan cocktail ingredients. This trick will leave your glass icy cold. The rest is easy!
Quick question: bourbon or rye?
So, we know they’re both whiskeys, but what’s the difference between rye and bourbon? Rye is made from rye (no surprise there!) while bourbon is made from corn mash. A rye whiskey offers a spicier sip compared to a bourbon, which has richer caramel and vanilla notes that deliver a sweeter cocktail. Making your best Manhattan Cocktail is personal, so we’ll leave the bourbon vs rye choice in your hands.
If the classic Manhattan is too sweet for you, look out for other variations that might be more to your taste. The Dry Manhattan splits the vermouth equally into dry white vermouth and sweet vermouth. A Rob Roy is a Manhattan without bourbon or rye and instead calls for scotch whiskey, made from malted grains. Try some of our other faves, the Winter Manhattan and Italian Manhattan. All Manhattans make a perfect serve for cocktail hour!