The Manhattan is a sophisticated Whiskey drink balanced by sweet Vermouth and enhanced with aromatic bitters. A timeless concoction has everything a fantastic cocktail needs.
During the late 19th century, there hardly was another mixed drink as popular as the Manhattan. The history of the Rye cocktail is a bit murky, but it seems as if it dates back to the 1860s. -invented by one mysterious Mr. Black.
Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients
The Whiskey-based recipe calls for the following three ingredients.
- Whiskey - The Manhattan can be made with either Rye or Bourbon. Although Rye Whiskey is preferable due to its spicier taste. When you order a Sweet Manhattan you will always get one with Bourbon.
- Sweet Vermouth - Vermouth is a flavored and fortified wine. The harmonious interplay of Rye and Sweet Vermouth is also one main reason most bartenders opt for the spicy Whiskey.
- Angostura aromatic bitters - Aromatic cocktail bitters are alcoholic infusions of various herbs and spices. A dash is enough to alter the taste of a drink and marry the flavors of the other ingredients.
Optionally, you can garnish your Manhattan with a brandied or Maraschino cherry.
How to make it
As with other drinks only containing alcoholic ingredients, the Manhattan needs to be stirred - never shaken.
Step 1: Chill a Nick & Nora glass in the freezer or fill it with ice.
Step 2: Add all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until the drink is chilled. Typically, that takes between 18 - 25 seconds, depending on the temperature of the ingredients and the quality of the ice.
Step 3: Strain the drink into the chilled (and empty) Nick & Nora glass and garnish the drink with a Maraschino cherry speared on a cocktail pick (optional).
Over the years, the drink led to a considerable number of riffs:
- Black Manhattan - By replacing Sweet Vermouth with Averna Amaro, an even more complex liqueur, you get a complex and very aromatic riff on the traditional recipe.
- Dry Manhattan - This dryer version of a Manhattan replaces Sweet with Dry Vermouth. The resulting drink is far less sweet with more pronounced herbal and bitter notes.
- Rob Roy aka. Scotch Manhattan - Instead of Bourbon or Rye, this twist employs Scotch Whisky. Don't use an overly peated bottle. Go for blended Scotch instead.
- Perfect Manhattan - This twist is one for Manhattan aficionados. The Perfect Manhattan splits the Vermouth part into 50% Dry and 50% Sweet Vermouth. The difference to the standard recipe is very nuanced.
- 1 Mixing glass
- 1 Bar spoon
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 2 oz Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Orange bitters
- 1 pcs Maraschino cherry
- Put all ingredients into a mixing glass and add ice.2 oz Rye Whiskey, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 dash Orange bitters
- Stir well until the cocktail is chilled.
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish your Manhattan with a Maraschino cherry.1 pcs Maraschino cherry
Frequently Asked Questions
The key difference is the sweetener. While Sweet Vermouth is used to sweeten a Manhattan cocktail, an Old Fashioned uses a sugar cube (or simple syrup).
The Manhattan is a classic Whiskey cocktail made of three ingredients: Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, and bitters.
No, a Manhattan is supposed to be stirred. As a rule of thumb, all cocktail recipes only made of alcoholic ingredients are stirred.