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How to Make a Manhattan [Moved from Home Cooking board]

In response to this thread < http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463952 > I am posting instructions on how to make a Manhattan (the way I learned it, anyhow).

2-1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
one or two large dashes Angosturo bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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  1. Hmmmm.... Interesting. My father's friend who swears his recipe makes The Authentic Manhattan uses the following guide for 1 drink:
    2 oz blended whiskey
    1/2 oz sweet vermouth
    1/2 oz dry vermouth
    1 dash bitters
    Swirl with ice to chill, pour into a cocktail glass,
    Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

    He makes a pitcher full at 5:00 every afternoon. He really doesn't care if anyone will stop in for a visit or not.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gio

      That's a recipe for a "Perfect" Manhattan (1/2 sweet and 1/2 dry vermouths)

    2. Maraschino cherries? Bah! Humbug! Especially since this is in response to a thread on brandied cherries. In season, I pit enough sour cherries to last me nearly all year and steep them in maraschino liqueur. Puts that Manhattan in a whole new class.

      1. An ex-bartender speaks: Using both sweet and dry vermouths gives you a "Perfect Manhattan" (similarly "Perfect Martini," etc.) Using bourbon is totally acceptable, but the classic way is with rye (or blended.)

        1. I highly suggest picking up a copy of the new cocktail book called imbibe, it goes into the history of the manhattan in one of its chapters. The original Manhattan club Manhattan is basically a 50/50 Rye and Sweet Vermouth drink with a dash of orange bitters, stirred, served up with a fat lemon twist. (as it is outlined in the book)

          1 Reply
          1. re: fafner

            I was just given a copy of Imbibe and have only begun to delve into it. Really fun read.

          2. I basically learned to make them like the OP, but with Seagram's 7 and on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Since reading the recent posts, I have been straining them into a cocktail glass and like it better.

            1. Manhattans are made with Rye, Sweet vermouth(varying from even parts to 3-1 rye to vermouth), a dash of orange bitters and a twist. (my one variation from this is that I use an Amarena cherry). A dry manhattan is made 4or 5-1 Rye and Dry vermouth, no bitters and is usually served up with a twist or an olive. a Perfect Manhattan is made with Rye, even parts of dry and sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters . Bourbon and Blended whiskies are used all the time, but these are variants.

              8 Replies
              1. re: chazzerking

                I agree. A real Manhattan is made as you say, with rye. All other spirits are relatively new changes in the recipe.

                1. re: chazzerking

                  I agree that the Manhattan from New York in the late 1800's was probably made with Rye. That was the most popular whiskey there at the time. Most of the old recipes I've seen only call for whiskey and don't specify what kind. If the only choice is rye, then it's next to impossible to get a Manhattan in a bar. I wish bars had Rye, but they mostly don't. If you ask for a Manhattan you will probably get Bourbon. I think probably Corbey's or Kessler's would probably be closer to the taste of they rye's in the original.

                  1. re: davebough

                    I guess it depends where you live and what quality bar you go to. In NYC rye is readily available except for few weeks this past fall when the demand was so great that distirbutors were slow in deliveries for a few weeks. But I have also found rye in bars all over New England including mid-coast Maine.

                    1. re: JMF

                      I'm in NYC and have found that unless it's a newish, top-tier cocktail bar, rye is rarely available. I've learned to ask for Manhattans with Seagrams 7 if there's no chance of Old Overcoat or its friends. The blend seems to be the driest of the alternatives, and some bars actually refer to it as rye. A lot of older restaurants seemed to use it for their house Manhattans.

                      1. re: Up With Olives

                        It's worse in Michigan. The only Ryes sold in the state are Jim Beam, which I don't like, Wild Turkey 101, which I wish wasn't so strong. @ expensive Sazaracs, and a Rittenhouse so expensive I would have to sell my daughter's body every time I ordered a Manhattan. The Beam and Wild Turkey are the only ones I have ever seen in a bar and 49 out of fifty bars have neuther.

                    2. re: davebough

                      I believe the Canadian whiskey blends have a fairly high percentage of rye in them; they make a passable Manhattan, though I really never drink them in anything else.

                      1. re: Bat Guano

                        even though there is usually a fair amount of rye in most Canadian blends, they are still quite a bit lighter than straight rye whiskies. They lack the depth of flavor to make a really good manhattan, IMO.

                        1. re: chazzerking

                          I agree that rye makes the best manhattan. But as rye is rarely available in a restaurant, Canadian is the best substitute. At home I'll make a 2-to-1 with rye but in bars they make them much, much stronger, so it works out okay. So long as they use bitters.

                  2. I can't say that this is a scientific way to make Manhattans, but I started making Manhattans for my elders when I was 10. Over the past 15 years, this has become my favorite recipe (no measuring necessary :))

                    Old Fashioned Glass (always on the rocks!)
                    Lots of Maker's Mark
                    A splash of vermouth (about 1/4 oz I'd say)
                    A splash of bitters (Peychaud's or Angostura)
                    Lots of cherries :)

                    1. I do 2 oz rye, 1 oz Vya vermouth, two drops Peychauds, stirred, and served up with a cherry. Fantastic.

                      1. A few of months ahead:
                        Wash and pit tart cherries. Put them in a jar. Cover with Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Steep.

                        A few hours ahead:
                        Put martini glasses, shaker/strainer, and stirring tool in the freezer.

                        A few minutes ahead:
                        Dip a bit of the Maraschino (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) liqueur out of the jar per glass. Put into the martini glasses, return them to the freezer.

                        Proportion your liquor thus:
                        2-3 Parts Rye (Van Winkle Family Reserve, Sazerac, or Templeton) if you are going for historical accuracy.
                        2-3 Parts Bourbon (Maker's Mark or Eagle Rare 10 yr.)

                        1 part each Sweet and Dry Vermouth
                        -a measuring cup is handy for this.

                        A few dashes of Fee Brothers Orange, or Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters. Use your nose to tell you how much.

                        Crush plenty of ice. Load the chilled shaker.

                        Add liquor/bitters mix to the shaker and stir dreamily. A Manhattan, that noblest of cocktails, is like a baby-it must NEVER be shaken. If you want a bubble infused drink with a head on it, have a beer.
                        When the shaker is nicely frosted, strain this nectar into the frosty prepared martini glasses, add a couple of cherries, and warm your heart with this tangible evidence of God's love for us, His Children.

                        Skip the Maraschino liqueur and cherries, garnish with a lemon twist. Or, I have observed, a very crisp and well drained/blotted slice of bacon.

                        Enjoy with home smoked almonds, Ninton Boru, wasabi peas, hot garlic potato chips, amiable & entertaining company.

                        A votre sante...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ajs

                          I love Manhattans--have been drinking them for years. Though I've never heard of a bacon garnish. Has anyone ever tasted it?

                          1. re: perk

                            Oh my, yes.
                            The well-drained and crisp thing is important, to minimize the oil slick of bacon grease. I invented these accidentally a few years ago, after having a couple of friends over for breakfast & having leftover bacon.
                            But really, there's damn few things that bacon doesn't frolic well with. Though I'm beginning to think that mayyybe peanut butter cookies aren't one of them.

                        2. To convert people generally averse to whiskey-based drinks, I usually pour in a half-ounce of the cherry juice and four dashes of bitters to round it out - it may be far from authentic, but I think it tastes great.

                          1. I just want to say, "STIR DON'T SHAKE."

                            1. I just had my first several Manhattan in a local restaurant here in Boston and now I'm hooked for life. Here is what the genius bartender did:

                              --2 shots Old Overholt rye
                              --1 shot Punt E Mes
                              --2 dashes angostura bitters
                              Shake it in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

                              I had to have several of these just to make sure I really liked them.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: SSqwerty

                                I hadn't even heard of Punt E Mes before this thread. Now, me am convert! Thank you, SSqwerty!