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+ servings
A Manhattan cocktail in a coup glass.


Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, a Manhattan is a classic cocktail with a long history and an almost unchanging recipe. And it's a strong drink, too!
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 198kcal


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon whiskey (1/4 cup, see note 1)
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth (2 tablespoons, see note 2)
  • 2 to 3 dashes old-fashioned bitters or Angostura bitters (1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 Maraschino cherry or orange peel, for garnish (see note 3)


  • In a mixing glass, add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Fill glass 3/4 full with ice. Using a bar spoon, stir until well chilled, about 30-45 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or an orange peel.


  1. Whiskey: Rye whiskey, the traditional choice for a Manhattan, has a spicy, aggressive flavor and its mash must be made from at least 51% rye. Bourbon is sweeter in flavor and its mash must be made from at least 51% corn. It also must be made in the United States to be called "bourbon."
  2. Sweet vermouth: A fortified wine (made from grapes) that tastes sweet and bitter with notes of botanicals (herbs, roots, and barks) and caramel.
  3. Cherry: I prefer Luxardo brand cherries or brandied cherries in a Manhattan. 
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
  5. Glassware: The Manhattan is traditionally served in a cocktail glass (similar to a martini glass) or a coupe glass.
  6. Big batch: To make a batch of 8 cocktails, combine 16 ounces (2 cups) whiskey, 8 ounces (1 cup) sweet vermouth, and 20 dashes bitters in a pitcher. Have ice, glassware, and garnishes on hand so guests can help themselves.
  7. Garnish: Instead of the maraschino cherry, an orange peel is another classic garnish. Some creative mixologists will substitute a lemon peel.
  8. Cherry juice: For extra sweetness, add a splash of maraschino cherry juice.
  9. Shaken, not stirred: For a frothy surface, shake the cocktail with ice in a shaker before straining into a chilled glass.
  10. Brooklyn cocktail: Substitute 1/2 ounce (1 tbsp.) EACH dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur for the sweet vermouth. Substitute Picon bitters for the angostura bitters.
  11. Brandy Manhattan: Substitute brandy for the whiskey (especially popular in Wisconsin and Minnesota).
  12. Cuban Manhattan: Substitute dark rum for the whiskey.
  13. Dry Manhattan: Substitute dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth and substitute a lemon twist for the maraschino cherry.
  14. Perfect Manhattan: Equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.
  15. Rob Roy: Substitute Scotch whisky for the rye whiskey.


Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg