The Manhattan Cocktail

5 minutes
1 perfect Manhattan cocktail

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The Manhattan Cocktail is a highly gratifying and appropriate ‘get-together’ potion if ever there was one.

A close up of a wine glass, with Manhattan

The Manhattan Cocktail is the 1860s tincture, fashionable still, the architect however remains of rumored origin. Regardless of its maker, New Year’s Day celebrations call for a toast of some libation or another. Well, any celebration calls for a toast of some libation or another really!

A friend from the UK who recently visited was kind enough to gift me a rather exhilarating basket filled with all the necessaries for a Bourbon Whiskey variation of the Manhattan Cocktail, American Rye Whiskey being the traditional elixir of purist opinion. Right down to a tiny jar of Luxardo Maraschino cherries and a swish cocktail spoon, this goody basket had everything cradled inside except Toto. Cheers, friends!

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2 Manhattan cocktails up close

After years of delighting in Luxardo cherries at swank cocktail parties, I finally had a little jar of my own.  Oh, and he tucked these CUTE cocktail picks inside, too. LOVE. The Luxardos seemed a bit of a splurge upon hearing that jar lid ‘pop’ when I initially opened them.  But a proper Manhattan Cocktail requires so few ingredients, that quality naught be sacrificed. And long after my friend departed, I was still mastering the mixation so to speak. A Manhattan is a cocktail traditionally fashioned with American Rye whiskey, sweet Vermouth, and Angostura bitters. In this version, I am using American Bourbon Whiskey. The cocktail is preferably stirred with cube ice, then strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with a Maraschino cherry.

Today, and in this Bourbon Whisky version of the iconic mix, one of five cocktails named for a New York City borough. The history of the Manhattan is blurred. In fact, if any readers were inclined to shed light beyond what I know to print here, weigh in. The one thing most agree on is the round about age of this blend, generally dating to the 1860’s or very shortly thereafter.

The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named for a New York City borough. The others include The Bronx, The Brooklyn, The Queens, and The Staten Island. Drink one of each and you’ll be well traveled…

Later, during Prohibition, the Manhattan gained great popularity, maybe for no other reason than its ingredients were forbidden. Regardless, I have become quite smart at correctly proportioning my liquors to my bitters and am only too happy to share here in time for New Year’s. After all, nearly every one of us will ring in midnight to “Auld Lang Syne” so only fitting to match the mirth with the memories.  Oh, and I prefer two of the Luxardo cherries in my Manhattan. please.

Manhattan and Tincture

Manhattan and Tincture

The Manhattan Cocktail

Jenny DeRemer
Inspired by The American 1860's Tincture, Fashionable Still. Learn all you need to know to make the perfect Manhattan cocktail.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 1 perfect Manhattan cocktail
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 perfect Manhattan cocktail
Calories 207 kcal


Ingredients for A Classic Manhattan Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 dashes or so Angostura bitters
  • 2 to 3 Luxardo Maraschino cocktail cherries or Maraschino cherries
  • ½ tablespoon syrup from the cherries (optional, but worth experimenting)


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters (and cherry syrup if using)
  • Stir for 90 seconds – note here that the perfect Manhattan is always stirred, never shaken
  • Strain into a martini glass, or in my case, a sexy 1920's Marie Coupe
  • Garnish with Luxardo Maraschino cherries skewered on cocktail picks for swizzling

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingsCalories: 207kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSodium: 1mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10g
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