Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipes (You Will Love)

Break out the rye whiskey and maraschino cherries, because today we are going over our favorite classic Manhattan cocktail recipe. Let's get right into it.

Break out the rye whiskey because we’re making Manhattans. Now, before we get into it, there are a couple of different variations on The Manhattan cocktail. So along with the classic Manhattan cocktail recipe, we’re also going to be focusing on a few different members in the Manhattan family tree.

Furthermore, we would like to state that although The Manhattan is considered the quintessential rye cocktail, there are some out there that prefer to substitute brandy in place of rye and variations that use other base spirits. Well, the question is: who’s rye and who’s wrong. The answer is both. You should enjoy The Manhattan however you want. So before I come up with any more bad puns, let’s get right into it.

A Little History

We won’t be focusing too much on the history of this cocktail because, like so many other cocktails, Its history is blurred and its origin theorized on by some of the great scholars of the mixology world. What you should know is that its invention dates back around the mid-1870s with The Manhattan Club, near the famous Carnegie Hall in NYC, claiming ownership of the recipe.

Classic manhattan cocktail - cocktail hammer
Classic manhattan cocktail
Photo of the manhattan club circa 1859 source wikipedia - cocktail hammer
Photo of the manhattan club circa 1859. Source: wikimedia commons
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Some Tips and Tricks

Okay, so the good about making a Manhattan is that when it comes to cocktail making tools, you won’t need the whole kit, just a long spoon to stir the drink, and a Julep Strainer. What you will need is two glasses, one to stir all the ingredients in and one to strain all of the liquid into. 

If you’re looking for more direction with what specific rye you should use to make a classic Manhattan, the truth is, as long as it’s rye, then it should work. However, if you’re just looking for some suggestions, how about: Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse 100-proof straight Rye Whiskey, 1776 Rye, or Redemption Rye. These are just some of our favorites.

Don’t have a liquor store near your house? Not a problem! You can use to have alcohol delivered straight to your door! Just click this link to be taken to the website, sign up, and buy all the rye you can get your hands on. You will also get $5 off your first order. Consider it an early Christmas gift from us.

How to Make a Manhattan

Below are the ingredients and directions for this Classic Manhattan recipe. We hope you love this cocktail as much as we do.

The Manhattan

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  • 2oz Rye Whiskey (1776 Rye Whiskey)

  • 1oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)

  • 2 Dashes of Angostura bitters or 4 dashes of Hella “Aromatic” Bitters

  • Bordeaux Cherry, for garnish


  • Place all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice
  • Stir ingredients with mixing spoon
  • Use Julep strainer to strain liquid into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Garnish with Bordeaux Cherry

Recipe Video


  • *We put our recommendations for particulars in parenthesis

Other Manhattan Cocktail Variations

Here are just a few of our favorite variations on this timeless cocktail.

Dry Manhattan Cocktail

  • 2oz Rye
  • 1oz Dry vermouth (Dolin Dry Vermouth)
  • 2 Dashes of Bitters, Angostura or Aromatic
  • Garnish with lemon peel

Apple Manhattan Cocktail

  • 2oz Bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1oz Berentzen apple liqueur
  • Dash of Aromatic Bitters
  • Thin Slice of granny smith apple

Reverse Manhattan Cocktail

  • 1oz Bourbon (Bulleit Bourbon)
  • 1oz Sweet vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1oz Dry vermouth (Dolin)
  • Dash of Aromatic Bitters 
  • Orange zest coin for garnish
  • Bordeaux cherry for garnish
Classic manhattan cocktail recipe with lemon garnish on bar
Classic manhattan cocktail with lemon garnish on bar

Conclusion: Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

If you’re looking to serve enough manhattans to satisfy multiple guests, then we recommend you check out our party size cocktail post to learn how you can make a bunch of tasty Manhattan cocktails all at once.

If you want to step up your game from using your spaghetti strainer and your grandma’s teaspoon, then check out our shop for some awesome cocktail kits that come complete with all of the essentials you need. We’ll leave you to enjoy your Manhattans in peace, and as always, Stay home, Stay safe, and Get Hammered. 

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Written by Chris Harris, Staff Writer

Howdy. I’m Chris Harris. One of the writers here at Cocktail Hammer. I have a passion for all things food, wine, and mixology. When I’m not I’m behind the bar or writing for this awesome blog, you can find me riding my bike all across New York City.

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Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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