This is another simple cocktail with seemingly endless variants and opinions as to what is and isn’t a proper Manhattan. Shown in my photo is a “Perfect Manhattan” (i.e., made with French as opposed to Italian vermouth- Dolin is what we happened to have), with a fairly standard garnish of orange twist and maraschinos (except my maraschinos happen to have been soaked in brandy for a few weeks- yum!). In the event that you can’t find rye, Canadian Club makes an acceptable substitute (it has tons of rye in it).


  • 2 ounces rye whisky
  • 1 ounce Italian vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Glass Type: old fashioned

Stir the rye, vermouth and bitters well with cracked ice. (Some prefer to shake their Manhattans- it’s okay if that’s your thing, but it tends to result in a cloudy drink topped with a bit of foam. It won’t ruin the taste, but some folks claim a shaken Manhattan tastes a bit thinner). Strain into in a chilled glass and garnish with twist or, of course, maraschino cherry (which is subject to the same challenge re: purity as adding an olive to a martini).

And here are some of the many variations on the classic Manhattan:
– Lose the Angostura and pitch in a splash of Amer Picon and it’s a Monahan; a splash of anisette and it’s a Narragansett; 2 dashes of cherry brandy and a dash of absinthe and you’ve got a McKinley’s Delight. Leave a dash of the Angostura in, add a dash of orange bitters and 3 dashes of absinthe: a Sherman.
– Replace half the Italian vermouth with French for a so-called Perfect Manhattan. Equal parts of rye, French vermouth, and Italian vermouth: a Jumbo. Make that with bourbon: a Honolulu (no bitters at all in those last two). Cut the Italian vermouth entirely and make it half bourbon and half French vermouth: a Rosemary. To turn that into a Brown University, just add a couple dashes of orange bitters.
– If you make your classic 2-to-1 Manhattan with French vermouth instead of Italian and a dash of Amer Picon and one of Maraschino, you’re in Brooklyn. And there are many, many more — like the Rob Roy, but enough is enough for one post!