It’s hard to top classic cocktails for sophistication, and the Manhattan certainly lives up to the urban elegance of its name. While its origins are shrouded in conflicting stories, there is nothing mysterious about the appeal of this subtle blend of bourbon, vermouth and a kiss of bitters.

Things You'll Need

Fill a large glass or cocktail shaker about half full of ice. Use whole cubes as shaved or crushed ice melts too quickly and can water down the drink.

Add approximately 2 ounces of traditional bourbon or rye whiskey per drink.

Pour in about 1 ounce of vermouth for each 2 ounces of your base liquor. Choose either sweet or dry vermouth according to your personal taste.

Add a dash of bitters. Use between two and five drops depending on your preference. The sweeter the vermouth, the more bitters you need to balance the flavor.

Stir the drink gently until the ingredients are just mixed. Strain the drink into a short tumbler or large martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or orange slice if desired and immediately serve.


  • Spike maraschino cherries and small orange slices onto a long swizzle stick for a more festive drink.