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The Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 17, 2020 • 1 min read

While there are lots of opinions on what makes the perfect Manhattan cocktail—rye versus bourbon whiskey, the distinct brand of bitters, the balance of sweetness in a given vermouth—the end result is your Manhattan, perfectly calibrated to your palate.



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What Is a Manhattan?

The Manhattan, named for the New York City borough of its birth, is a cocktail made of two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of aromatic bitters. The Manhattan is stirred, not shaken, and garnished with a brandied cherry or two. There are many variations on the Manhattan cocktail, like swapping rum for whiskey, or Averna amaro for vermouth.

Classic Manhattan Recipe

Classic Manhattan Recipe

1 cocktail
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth (look for an Italian vermouth like Dolin or Carpano Antica)
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • Luxardo cherries
  • Optional: orange peel, for garnish
  1. Add two handfuls of ice cubes to a cocktail mixing glass or shaker.
  2. Add whiskey, vermouth, and bitters, to the glass and stir. You want the ingredients thoroughly, but gently, blended, and well-chilled, so stir for about two minutes.
  3. Spoon one dark Luxardo cocktail cherry (with a bit of its syrup) into the base of a chilled cocktail glass, either a coupe or a martini glass. (If you’re using an old-fashioned glass, simply spear a few cherries onto a cocktail skewer, or opt for an orange peel.)
  4. Strain the cocktail into the glass and enjoy.

Learn more about mixology from award-winning bartenders. Refine your palate, explore the world of spirits, and shake up the perfect cocktail for your next gathering with the MasterClass All-Access Pass.