Classic Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan cocktail // Feast + West

Today’s Friday Night Delight is a classic, sophisticated cocktail. I haven’t done too many of the very classic drinks on the blog yet, but since I’m focusing on one liquor per month, I thought it would be fun to share some of the very classic recipes along with more modern ways to use each liquor. January is bourbon, and the Manhattan is probably as classic as you can get — tied only with the martini.

If you’re new to Manhattans, you should know right now that this is not a beverage for the faint of heart. It’s a strong, serious, Mad Men-esque cocktail. Though it’s typically made with rye whiskey, I like the Manhattan better with bourbon as I find it makes it a bit sweeter and easier on my palate. It’s also the Southern way to do it, which is totally fine by me. You should try the Manhattan both ways — with rye whiskey and with bourbon — and decide how you like it.

The Manhattan cocktail // Feast + West

To make a Manhattan, you’ll need bourbon or rye whiskey, Italian vermouth and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. Everything goes into a cocktail shaker filled with ice before shaking and straining into a cocktail glass. I like to shake mine vigorously until the ice is ‘bruised,’ which means there are tiny ice crystals that float on top of the drink. Bruising is technically a martini term, but it can apply here too.

Then, you’ll garnish with a twist of an orange peel and a maraschino cherry. But if I’m being totally honest, for this one, I used a cherry leftover from the Cherry Bounce I made over the summer. My family and I drank it throughout the holidays, and now I am left with two jars of incredible, spiced fermented cherries that go surprisingly well in the classic Manhattan. Don Draper would be proud. // susannah

The Manhattan cocktail // Feast + West

Click below to learn how to make the Manhattan cocktail! 

The Manhattan cocktail // Feast + West

Manhattan Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A classic cocktail for the serious whiskey lover


  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce sweet Italian vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ice cubes
  • 1 cocktail cherry, for garnish
  • 1 piece orange peel, for garnish


  1. Add bourbon, vermouth and bitters to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and an orange twist.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 3g

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The Manhattan cocktail // Feast + West

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  1. Melissa says

    “You should try the Manhattan both ways — with rye whiskey and with bourbon — and decide how you like it.”

    You have the best advice. Manhattan tasting party!

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