Manhattan Cocktail — This classic bourbon cocktail is made with vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange peel for a sophisticated and easy drink everyone should know how to make!
Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe
When I think of a Manhattan, I’m not going to lie, I think of something that my dad would drink.
Something classic, refined, potent, not sweet, and probably not what you’d see anyone on a college spring break trip ordering. Then again, you never know!
I also think what was old is becoming new again. Many things seem to have a way of coming back around and become in fashion again.
So, I wanted to share my go-to Manhattan drink recipe. If you’ve never tried this simple yet sophisticated bourbon cocktail, you’re missing out!
Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients
You’ll need very few ingredients to make a bourbon Manhattan. Here’s what’s in a Manhattan drink:
- Sweet vermouth
- Angostura bitters
- Orange peel
- Maraschino cherry
Tools Needed to Make a Manhattan
It will also be helpful to have a shaker and bar spoon. I used a glass one for the photos so you can see more clearly the contents but metal is more common and sturdier.
If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can also make this drink using a reusable coffee mug or a large glass. Just be careful when pouring out your cocktail, you don’t want to spill it!
How to Make a Manhattan
Fill a shaker halfway with ice, add the bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, and stir with a bar spoon.
Strain into a cocktail glass and squeeze the orange peel over the top of the glass to release the oils before garnishing with the orange peel and a maraschino cherry.
Can I Use Whiskey Instead of Bourbon?
Rye or Canadian Whiskey may be used instead of bourbon based on personal preference, however I think bourbon is more traditional.
What’s the Best Bourbon for a Manhattan?
I used Jim Beam bourbon, but you can use any kind you’d like. Since bourbon is the star ingredient, I recommend buying a good quality bottle. This isn’t the cocktail to use the cheap stuff in!
Can This Drink Be Made in Advance?
No, it’s so quick and easy that you might as well wait until you’re ready to serve it to prepare the drink.
Can I Make This as a Batch Cocktail?
Possibly, but I prefer making them one at a time since there’s ice involved.
Tips For The Best Manhattan Drink
There aren’t too many ingredients in this drink, but they are all important, including the Angostura bitters, which is ideal for balancing drinks, cleansing the palate, and helping with digestion. It helps give a Manhattan cocktail its signature flavor.
You may have to go a little out of your way to find maraschino cherries that are more adult-like than the intensely bright red ones typically seen in a Shirley Temple or piña colada!
I like Luxardo maraschino cherries but there are many brands out there. Look for them apart from online in well-stocked markets or more upscale liquor stores.
Pin This Recipe
Manhattan Cocktail – This classic bourbon cocktail is made with vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange peel for a sophisticated and easy drink everyone should know how to make!
- 2 ounces bourbon* (I used Jim Beam)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 small Orange peel slice
- 1 maraschino cherry, for garnishing
- In a shaker filled halfway with ice, add the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters. Stir with a bar spoon for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Strain into a cocktail glass and squeeze the orange peel over the top of the glass to release the oil.
- Garnish and serve with the orange peel and a maraschino cherry. Recipe is intended for those for whom alcohol is legal and appropriate.
* Rye or Canadian Whiskey may be used instead of bourbon.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
More Easy Cocktail Recipes:
Salty Dog Cocktail – A cousin to a greyhound, this bright, refreshing drink is made with vodka (or gin), grapefruit juice, and a sea-salted rim!! Easy to make a pitcher of it or make in advance if you’re entertaining!!
Homemade Margaritas — How to make a margarita with just three natural ingredients! Nothing fake, neon green, and no sugary chemicals. This is the best homemade margarita recipe I’ve tried and it’s the easiest!!
Cosmopolitan – This classic cocktail is made with vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and cranberry juice. It’s flirty and flavorful yet refined and simple.
Tequila Sunrise — Not only is it pretty to look at, but a tequila sunrise is also refreshing, nostalgic, and the grenadine sweetens it up enough that you may not even notice it packs quite a punch!
Beer Margaritas – Summer tastes better with a pitcher of these delightful and refreshing beer margaritas are made with Corona, tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave, and a sugared (or salted) rim! Cheers to beer-garitas!
Rum Runner — a fruity and tropical cocktail, but not in a strawberry daiquiri doesn’t-do-much kind of way. This delicious Rum Runner recipe (complete with my secret ingredient!) packs a punch that can sneak up on you!
Creamy Nutella Martini – Everything’s Better with Nutella! A wonderful dessert martini!
A Rye Manhattan and Rye Old Fashion are my two favorite drinks. Seldom do I find a bartender who knows how to make the OF. Also, most bartenders don’t know they have rye whiskey. Try your next Manhattan with Cognac or Brandy.
Good tips and I’l give that a try next time!