Get a Taste of the Big Apple With This Manhattan Recipe

Only the city that never sleeps could come up with a cocktail that'll keep you up all night — and name it after one of its most beloved boroughs too.

Updated February 17, 2024
classic manhattan cocktails

Classy and sophisticated, with a little sweetness and spice, the Manhattan is as delicious on the Upper East Side as it is on the Lower. Let the aromatic flavors of this spirit-froward drink whisk you away to the Big Apple's busy streets. 

How to Make a Manhattan 

From the Cosmopolitan to the Martini, there are a few cocktails that everyone should learn to make. Emerging in the late-19th century, this whiskey and vermouth drink is a staple at sophisticated weddings and expensive galas. Transform your cozy living room into an elegant evening affair with our Manhattan recipe.  



  1. Chill a martini glass or coupe.
  2. In a mixing glass, add ice, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
  3. Stir rapidly to chill.
  4. Strain into the chilled glass.
  5. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.
Fast Fact

Give different types of whiskey a try to find the flavor that's right for you. For example, Canadian whisky, Tennessee whiskey, and blended whiskey all work well in a Manhattan. 

Related: Capture Manhattan's Magic With This Cosmopolitan Recipe

4 Subtle Variations to Try 

The Manhattan is a fairly straightforward, powerful cocktail with little room for alterations. If you want to tweak the flavor profile to better fit your tastes, we have some great ideas. 

  • Use bourbon in place of rye to get a sweeter flavor rather than the typical bite.
  • Experiment using a combination of bitters. Consider adding orange or cherry bitters alongside traditional aromatic ones, or molasses, walnut, and toasted almond.  
  • For a dry Manhattan, use dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth.
  • Include a dash or two of cocktail cherry syrup to give the Manhattan a sweeter touch.

Garnishes to Dress Things Up 

While the standard Manhattan garnish is a cocktail cherry, that doesn't mean you can't take a walk on the wild side and shake things up with these fun garnishes. 

  • Add a subtle touch of citrus by using an orange or lemon peel.
  • Give it a not-so-subtle citrus note by using a wedge, wheel, or slice.
  • Dehydrated fruit gives your typical Manhattan a visual edge.
  • Try different cocktail cherry brands to find which one works best for you.

A Perfect Cocktail for the City That Never Sleeps 

The name might not win any awards for originality, but it captures the wealth, sophistication, and class that Manhattan exudes. As quite a boozy drink, the Manhattan is one you'll want to sip on slowly lest you stay up to watch the sunrise peek out over the Hudson River. 

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Get a Taste of the Big Apple With This Manhattan Recipe