The Classic Manhattan

Pouring a Manhattan Cocktail

With the return of Mad Men this week, we’ve found ourselves going back to a few of the classics lately. While Don may be an Old Fashioned man, I prefer its cousin, the Manhattan.

The drink has as many variations as it does origin stories, but this is the way I always prepare mine.

Pouring Rittenhouse into a Shot Glass

In a mixing glass with ice, add 2 oz. of rye whiskey, 1 oz. sweet vermouth and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and stir. Pour into an old-fashioned glass and garnish with a brandied cherry (or several).

You can choose to use bourbon here if you’d like, but I prefer the rye to compliment the sweet vermouth as bourbon is already on the sweeter side. If you’re the experimental type, Peychaud’s or orange bitters would add a new layer to a Manhattan.

The best brandied cherries for a Manhattan cocktail

The intricate label of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth's bottle

Dropping angostura bitters into a Manhattan cocktail

We primarily use Rittenhouse Rye, an affordable, but solid, whiskey, good enough for slow sipping on its own.

As for the vermouth, we splurge a little here and go with Carpano Antica. Based on a recipe from the 18th century, Carpano Antica has a permanent spot on our bar cart. It’s splendid in cocktails, but if you drink it on its own, you’ll be entranced by the notes of vanilla, cloves, orange peel and other spices. When not enjoying it on its own, Laura likes it best in a Negroni.

The finished classic Manhattan drink

The simplicity and elegance of the Manhattan make it enjoyable almost anywhere, from parties to dinner to just relaxing at home.

– Ryan

9 thoughts on “The Classic Manhattan”

  • Yum – I need to make this cocktail this weekend. I’ve always been scared of Manhattans because my grandma says that they’re “strong enough to cure the common cold” but yours doesn’t seem scary! It seems delicious!

    mon amy

      • Or sweeten it a little with something, anything – simple syrup, maple syrup, liquid from the neon cherry jar. And then wean off the sweetener over time. You won’t regret it. Maker’s bourbon or a basic Candian is a good manhattan starter to make it approachable.

  • The Manhattan has to be one of our all time favorite cocktails. But of course, because its name is after our all time favorite place. Really enjoy your take on the classic. We’ll definitely be giving it a try!

  • I had quite a few Manhattans leading up to the season premiere – so good! I also like them better than an Old Fashioned. Those Luxardo cherries are so, so amazing. One taste of those and you can see where the saccharine, bright red maraschino cherries are coming from, but those Italian cherries are the real thing. And they are outstanding!

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