Manhattan Cocktail

1 Serving
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Manhattan Cocktail is a classic drink that you can make in just a few easy steps with whiskey, vermouth, and a few dashes of bitters.

If you’re looking to become the bartender of your friend group, then there are a few basic drinks you need to know. For more favorite Drink Recipes, try this Moscow Mule and Sangria recipe.

Table of Contents

About Our Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Whether you’re already a cocktail enthusiast or are just learning about making your own drink recipes, this is the perfect recipe to learn. A Manhattan Cocktail is a traditional drink that can elevate any occasion. If you have traditional cocktail glasses to serve the cocktail mix in, then you’ll love how this drink looks. There is just something so elegant about serving a homemade cocktail mix, like this, in a stemmed cocktail glass.

The whiskey-based drink is a staple of any decent cocktail bar, and with this recipe, you can make it just as good. This is an excellent choice of drink for any occasion. The blend of flavors from the whisky, sweet vermouth, and dash of bitters is complex but crowd-pleasing.

Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

  • ¼ cup, or 2 ounces Whiskey: Whiskey is the base spirit for this classic cocktail recipe. Traditionally, bartenders will use rye whiskey in the cocktail blend. The lightly spiced flavor of rye pairs perfectly with the sweet vermouth to give the cocktail ingredients a more complex flavor. You can also use bourbon for a great taste.
  • 2 tablespoons, or 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth: When you pick out the vermouth for this recipe, make sure to get sweet vermouth. Dry vermouth isn’t sweet enough to balance out the whiskey and won’t make the same pleasant combination of flavors.
  • Bitters: For the bitters, you want Angostura bitters, which are made from herbs and spices. Then add a dash of orange bitters for a lightly tangy flavor.
  • Garnish: Finish the drink with a brandied cherry. The boozy, sweet fruit makes the perfect garnish for the classic cocktail recipe.
Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients
Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Coupe Glasses: A classic Manhattan is served in a stemmed glass with an elegant rounded bowl, called a coupe glass.
  • Cocktail Shaker: To make mixing nice and easy, use a cocktail shaker of any variety. This way you can easily strain out the ice. 
  • Stirs: Grab a long stir, or multiple if more than one person will be making the cocktails. You’ll need them to stir the ingredients, rather than shake them to chill over the ice.
  • Cocktail Toothpicks: Place your cherry on a pretty cocktail toothpick to top off your drink. You can use a fancy toothpick with a decoration on the end, the nice bamboo toothpicks, or a stainless steel reusable toothpick.

How to Make Manhattan Cocktail

  1. Prep Time

    To keep the Manhattan ice cold, it’s best to use chilled cocktail glasses. To accomplish that, put the coupe glass in the freezer 30 minutes to an hour before making the drink.

  2. Ice

    Add the ice to your shaker or mixing glass.Manhattan Cocktail Ice being added to glass

  3. Whiskey

    Add the whisky to your mixing glass over the ice.Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients being added to glass

  4. Sweet Vermouth and Bitters

    Add sweet vermouth and bitters to the shaker or mixing glass.Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients being added to glass

  5. Stir

    Gently stir the ingredients together for about 20 seconds.Manhattan Cocktail being stirred

  6. Pour

    Pour the cocktail into a coupe glass.Manhattan Cocktail being strained into coupe glass

  7. Serve

    Serve your manhattan with a brandied cherry on a toothpick over the top for garnish.Manhattan Cocktail aerial view

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Manhattan Cocktail
Amount Per Serving
Calories 186
% Daily Value*
Potassium 1mg0%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 0.5g1%
Protein 0.02g0%
Iron 0.01mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Make your Manhattan Cocktail like a pro following these helpful tips.

  1. Make sure you stir your ingredients, rather than shake them so that your Manhattan will stay nice and clear. Shaking your Manhattan will make it look cloudy.
  2. To make sure you don’t end up with a watered-down Manhattan, be careful not to stir the cocktail for too long. 15 to 30 seconds is all you need. Stir for 30 seconds if your ice is harder and drier when you add it to the shaker. Stir for 15 seconds if your ice is already a little bit wet.

What to Pair With Manhattan Cocktail

You can enjoy this drink during cocktail hour before a dinner party. It’s quite easy to blend the cocktail ingredient for your guests to sip on during cooking time. Try serving the classic Manhattan with other classic appetizers likeMarinated Olives, Crab Rangoon, Cocktail Meatballs, or Onion and Feta Pastry Bites

Try serving this cocktail before having elegant Steak Au Poivre for dinner with friends. It will make the whole evening feel luxurious, and the cocktail will be the perfect treat to sip on while finishing the cooking time for the meal. Another wonderful dinner pairing would be Ribeye Steak, or Roast Leg of Lamb

How to Store Manhattan Cocktail

  • Serve: For the best taste, enjoy your classic Manhattan right after pouring it into your chilled glass.
  • Store: If you want to make your cocktail drinks ahead of time, or if you have leftovers, you can keep your Manhattan in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

Ideas to Serve Manhattan Cocktail

Whether you serve the cocktail with appetizers with friends, during a meal with family, or as a late evening drink while you wind down for the night, you’re going to want to serve the Manhattan in the right glass. If you do not have coupe glasses to serve your Manhattan Cocktail, you can use a martini glass, which is already similar to a coupe glass with it’s stem. A lowball glass would also work well, which is a low tumbler. It is sometimes referred to as a rocks glass or a whiskey glass.

FAQs for Manhattan Cocktail

What’s the difference between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned?

Both an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan Cocktail are great drinks for whiskey lovers. The key difference is in the sweet ingredient. An old fashioned is made with whiskey, bitters, and sugar. However, Manhattan users sweet vermouth instead of sugar.

Is a Manhattan supposed to be iced?

A Manhattan is not meant to be served with ice. Instead, stir the cocktail mixture with ice until they’re nicely chilled. Then pour the drink through a strainer to remove the ice and add them to a chilled glass.

Manhattan Cocktail ready to serve

Recipe Card

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Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail is a classic drink that you can make in just a few easy steps with whiskey, vermouth, and a few dashes of bitters. 
Yield 1 Serving
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Course Drink
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/4 cup whiskey , (2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet vermouth , (1 ounce)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • brandied cherry , for garnish



Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.02g | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 0.5g | Iron: 0.01mg
Keyword: Manhattan Cocktail

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Manhattan Cocktail Collage

Manhattan Cocktail Variations

  • Blonde Manhattan: There are countless variations on a Classic Manhattan. One popular favorite to change up the original recipe is to make a blonde Manhattan. Like a regular Manhattan, this version is made with vermouth, but the other ingredients are swapped. To make this alternative, mix 1-ounce sweet vermouth, ½ ounce orange liqueur, 3 splashes orange bitters, and 2 ounces moonshine. It’s a delicious orange twist on the drink that’s usually poured over one large ice cube. You can also garnish the Blonde Manhattan with an orange peel.
  • Black Manhattan Recipe: To make a Black Manhattan combine 2 ounces bourbon with 1 ounce Italian amaro, 1 dash Angostura bitters, 1 dash orange bitters. Pour the mix into a chilled glass, and garnish with a brandied cocktail cherry.
  • Cherry Manhattan: A red cherry Manhattan is another amazing twist on this traditional drink. For this version, mix together 2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey, 1-ounce tart cherry liquid, ½ ounce sweet vermouth, and 3 dashes angostura bitters. Along with the cherry liquid, you could also use cherry bitters in place of half of the Angostura bitters. Shake all the cocktail ingredients together and pour them into a chilled glass.
  • Mocktail Recipe: To make an alcohol-free Manhattan, combine 2 ounces of cranberry juice, 2 ounces of orange juice, 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 2 dashes of bitters. Then strain the mix and garnish with a cocktail cherry.

More Drink Recipes

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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