Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Manhattan cocktails are a versatile classic. You can alter their flavor by using different types of whiskey, vermouth, or bitters. Traditionally, bartenders serve Manhattans in martini glasses garnished with maraschino cherries. Mixologists who want to serve Manhattans on the rocks opt for lowball or coupe glasses. Whichever serving vessel you choose, the Manhattan cocktail recipe is an easy-to-make classic that has satisfied customers for over a century.

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How to Make a Manhattan Cocktail Video

Use the following video to learn how to make a Manhattan cocktail:

Manhattan Recipe

This manhattan cocktail recipe makes 1 drink.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  1. Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters to a mixing glass.
  2. Stir the mixture to combine ingredients.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass or a lowball glass with ice.
  4. Garnish with maraschino cherry and serve.

What Is a Manhattan Cocktail?

Two Manhattan cocktails next to a bowl of brandied cherries

The Manhattan is one of the oldest known cocktail recipes, with origins dating back to the late 1800s. It has remained one of the most popular cocktails in the U.S., even through the Prohibition era. This cocktail has a perfect balance of flavors as the sweetness of the vermouth, the booziness of whiskey, and the sharpness of the bitters combine to create a rich palatal impression.

Which Fruit Is the Traditional Garnish for a Manhattan Cocktail?

Maraschino cherry is the traditional garnish for a classic Manhattan cocktail. Many bartenders also like to include an orange peel.

History of the Manhattan Cocktail

The true origins of the Manhattan cocktail are shrouded in mystery, and no one is positive where or when the cocktail emerged. One of the most popular stories surrounding the creation of the drink is that it originated in New York City's Manhattan Club circa 1874. Legend has it that the cocktail was concocted at a party thrown in honor of politician Samuel J. Tilden by Jennie Jerome, a socialite who would become the mother of Winston Churchill. They held the party at the Manhattan Club, so the cocktail took the name of its birthplace.

While this theory is popular, it has been debunked over the years because, at the time of the supposed party, Jennie Jerome was in Europe, pregnant with her first child. Now, many historians believe the drink originated in the 1860s, but the exact date and place are still unknown. Although the true origins of the Manhattan are a mystery, the recipe has survived and is still one of the most popular cocktails today.

The Manhattan is a timeless cocktail people drink in bars, country clubs, cigar lounges, and banquet halls across the world. Since there are only three ingredients in the recipe, your bartender can pour these drinks out fast and keep the service moving. You can also reinvent this simple mixed drink and offer creative twists on the classic Manhattan cocktail.

Posted in: Recipes|By Michale LeRoy
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