Uptown Manhattan


* 2 ounces bourbon
* 1 ounce sweet vermouth
* Dash of Angostura bitters
* Maraschino cherry for garnish

Stir the liquid ingredients with ice in a mixing glass until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

The Manhattan needs no introduction, but I’ll mention a couple details here that are often overlooked. First, they should be stirred, not shaken. Spirits mix easily, so you really don’t have to shake anything that doesn’t contain fruit juice. Shaking whiskey, in particular, leaves a foamy layer on the top of your drink that slightly affects the taste and ruins the look of the cocktail. A good stirring in a mixing glass is really all you need here.

Second and most important, a Manhattan without bitters is just a glass of bourbon and vermouth. I think bitters are often overlooked because most people don’t keep them around the house, but they are an essential ingredient for a properly-made Manhattan. Really, they’re not optional. Spring the six dollars for a bottle even if you don’t use it often.

If you feel like breaking from tradition, try a dash of orange bitters in addition to the Angostura bitters. If you’re like me and don’t care for maraschino cherries, try substituting brandy-soaked fresh cherries instead. Now that cherries are coming into season I’ll be making up a batch of these to keep on hand. Do both of these things and you’ll have what the guys at Absinthe call an Uptown Manhattan.

Uptown Manhattan

* 2 ounces bourbon
* 1 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
* Dash of Angostura bitters
* Dash of orange bitters
* Three brandied cherries for garnish
* Orange twist for garnish

Stir the liquid ingredients with ice in a mixing glass until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherries and orange twist.

And needless to say, if you must buy maraschino cherries, be sure their syrup isn’t made with HFCS. Most are, but you can find better ones if you look around for them.

Comments 5 Comments So Far

delirium tremens |

Interesting… I was *just* having a talk with Sarai about Manhattans the other day…

I’m in Italy so my Manhattan habit is on hiatus for a bit (but clearly not my internet habit)

Kenn |

You should write some bar reviews for us when you get back! We checked out a good number of bars in Firenze but it’s been a few years so I don’t remember enough details to write proper reviews of any of them.

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David Small

I encountered this variation of the Manhattan in Avenue, a very fine restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida. I believe they call it the Downtown Manhattan. The proportions are mine after experimenting at home.

2 ounces of Bourbon or Rye
1.5 ounces Sweet Vermouth
.5 ounce of Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
A dash of Peychaud’s Bitters.

I am also partial to the house Manhattan at Employee’s Only in New York City. It’s a traditional Manhattan with Angostura Bitters and a splash of Grand Marnier.

Kenn |

I’ve had the Employee’s Only variant (although not at Employee’s Only) but the other one is new to me. Could be good though, and opens the door to other liqueur possibilities.