How To Create the Perfect Manhattan Cocktail at Home: Recipe & Tools

how to make manhattan cocktail recipe
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Between the election and the Pandemic, everyone needs to access a little happiness right now. One of the best ways to do that is to make something wonderful, something delicious – either for yourself, your roommates or that special person who has agreed to some personal social distance socializing. One of the easiest things to make is a cocktail. And one of the simplest cocktails to make is The Manhattan. Trust us, it’s a lot simpler than baking bread. #OvenCleaner

Regular Joes and Janes have been making cocktails at home long before the New Normal was new or normal. The secret to home bartending/cocktail making is this:

  • It’s NOT about flair or complicated measurements
  • It IS about creativity, having fun and sharing what you’ve made with others

And unlike every other online recipe post in the world, we’re going to start with the recipe. From there, you’ll find all the tools, information on the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for crafting Manhattan cocktails.

To make the perfect Manhattan, you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces Rye
  • 1-ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: brandied cherry (such as Luxardo Cherries)
  • Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry and enjoy.

Now, if you want to learn everything you can about how to make a Manhattan, read on.


Everything You Need To Know About Making the Manhattan, the Classiest of Cocktails

Making the perfect Manhattan starts with the proper tools and good ingredients. At a minimum, we recommend measuring shots, a shaker, a strainer and a coupe.

cocktail shaker set, how to make the perfect manhattan Courtesy of Amazon

Of course, you don’t need fancy mixologist kits to whip up a whiskey drink, and you can approximate the effect with common kitchen tools. But if you’re serious about crafting the perfect cocktail, you may want to put a bartender’s tool kit on your holiday wish list.

Now that you have a proper set of tools, let’s get the right ingredients.


Remember: A Proper Manhattan Is Built on Rye Whiskey

This is the point where most Whiskey snobs demand you buy the most expensive Rye to make the perfect Manhattan. That’s not the case here. You know what you like and if a moderately priced bottle of Rye will make you happy – then BUY it. This cocktail is about accessing your joy and not about conforming to a rigid cocktail ascetic.

A 750 ml bottle of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey is perfect for the beginner or the expert at $25. It’s a medium Rye that’s made for sipping solo or mixing in drinks. It’s a Rye that tells you you’re drinking Rye without slapping you in the face or punching you in the wallet. Another mid-range recommendation is Sazerac Rye. At $35 this Rye will let you know who’s the boss. You can get either delivered to you via online vendors such as Drizly or Minibar, depending on your location.

best rye whiskey for manhattan cocktail Courtesy of Drizly, Minibar Delivery

Next up, a Sweet Red Vermouth

Before you ask, Vermouth is a fortified wine that has been enhanced with neutral grains and flavored with 12 original herbs and spices. KIDDING! It takes any number and combination of herbs and spices to make a good Vermouth. One of the best Vermouths available is Noilly Prat’s Rouge sweet vermouth. Bittersweet like a breakup text, strong enough to stand alone after said text but ready to get back in the mix. Noilly Prat’s contribution to your Manhattan will be noticed and appreciated.

Noilly Prat Rouge Sweet Vermouth Courtesy of Drizly

The Most Underestimated Part of Every Great Manhattan? The Perfect Glass

The time and effort you put into making a Manhattan should be respected. You wouldn’t hand in a doctoral thesis on construction paper. Also, think of the environment, a smaller carbon footprint is sexy. Amazon has a set of Coupes that will take your drink-making game up a notch.

Ritz Paris Cocktail Coupe, manhattan glasses Courtesy of Amazon

Finishing Touches: Cherry Bomb & The Bitters

If you are not familiar with Luxardo Cherries or Angostura bitters, have no fear. Most people aren’t — and that’s fine. This isn’t about passing judgment as a cocktail snob or being a hyper nerd about classic cocktail recipes. Rather, including these two old-school ingredients provides a touch of sophistication and distinction, and, together, they elevate your cocktail into a truly classy drink order. The cherries are going to add a visual and sweet component to your drink. The bitters are a binding agent. They hold the drink together and add an extra layer of flavor.

You can purchase these cocktail ingedients at many grocery stores and liquor stores; they’re also available for online delivery via Drizly.

how to make manhattan cocktail Courtesy of Drizly

My Go-To Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

To make the perfect Manhattan, you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces Rye
  • 1-ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: brandied cherry (such as Luxardo Cherries)

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Add all the ingredients into that newly purchased mixing tin with ice and stir until chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe.
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Afterward, admire your creation. Post a picture of it on Insta. Bask in the comments. Revel in the joy that your creation has made. Drink it as if it were a glass of tears from your haters — slowly, and with great pleasure.

No matter how you spell Whiskey, The Manhattan is a favorite across all fans of the Spirit. Its color and texture promise delight, its aroma embodies a mystery that can only be solved by tasting it. And once you embark on the journey of making one, you’ll be hard-pressed to not make more.