Classic Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

You only need three main ingredients to make this classic bourbon Manhattan cocktail recipe at home. Jump to the Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Classic Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

You’ll need bourbon, sweet vermouth and angostura bitters. Then, if you want, finish it off with orange peel and a maraschino cherry for garnish.

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How to Make a Manhattan at Home

Not long ago, we sat and watched as a young mixologist painstakingly made us his take on a Manhattan. House-made bitters and vermouth were added. He stirred, never shook and the precision with which he used his personal zester, one that he has had for years was mesmerizing.

How to Make a Bourbon Manhattan at Home

At home, we don’t make our own vermouth or bitters, not that we would want to (read: it would be pretty cool, though).  Leaving the house-made stuff to the pros, we, instead, make this simple bourbon heavy recipe.

Recipe updated, originally posted February 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Classic Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

  • PREP

You only need three main ingredients to make this classic bourbon Manhattan at home. You’ll need bourbon, sweet vermouth and angostura bitters. Then, if you want, finish it off with orange peel and a maraschino cherry for garnish.

Makes 1 drink

You Will Need

2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey

1 ounce sweet vermouth

2 to 3 dashes aromatic bitters (we use Angostura)

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Orange peel, for garnish


    1Fill a martini glass to the brim with ice so it chills while you make the Manhattan.

    2Add whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters to a shaker or glass with a few ice cubes, and then stir or gently shake. Do not over do it, you do not want the ice to water down the drink. Discard ice from martini glass then strain Manhattan into the chilled glass and garnish with cherry and orange peel.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Find Angostura bitters at your local liqueur store or sometimes you can find it in the mixers section of the grocery store.
  • While we used bourbon in this version, it is also popular to use rye whiskey.
  • We like our Manhattan on the sweeter side, but if you prefer things on the dryer side, use 50/50 sweet vermouth to dry vermouth.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cocktail / Calories 239 / Protein 0 g / Carbohydrate 6 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 5 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg / Sodium 5 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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14 comments… Leave a Review
  • Lucy Garcia-Storey May 7, 2018, 10:38 pm

    I love me a great Classic Manhattan but NEVER with a Red No. 3 cherry. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries are the way to go. If you’ve never had them, ya need to. Also, I give a couple extra shakes of the bitters.

    • Joy Martin October 15, 2020, 1:35 pm

      I agree that Luxado cherries are THE WAY TO GO! Nothing better in a Manhattan or a Rob Roy!

  • Joe October 29, 2017, 4:27 pm

    I’m a classic gin martini guy. But that looks so good I’m going to the liquor store and buy everything to make one !

    • Lucy Garcia-Storey May 7, 2018, 10:23 pm

      I totally agree with you on the Classic Gin martini but I’m really enjoying these Manhattans as of late. Cheers Joe!

      • Cindy October 10, 2020, 6:19 pm

        So, I’ve always been a classic gin martini girl, my dear husband turned me on to g&t’s for summer ( so refreshing!) and my sweet dad taught me a Manhattan just like this for winter (to warm the soul ?).

  • Camille January 11, 2017, 7:32 pm

    Great recipe. Got hooked last year in Manhattan. Also had a Gotham there. It’s a Manhattan with a 1/2oz of Kalhua added. Super yum

  • April 25, 2016, 11:04 pm

    I savour, cause I discovered exactly what I used to
    be looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • Cubby Urungus July 1, 2014, 10:21 pm

    I went to Spec’s and they had all kind of flavored bitters except plain bitters. I bought the lemon flavor. Could’ve had peach, lime, orange, cherry (which cost more?).
    But I went with lemon. No regrets. Doesn’t really matter what the flavor, gotta have bitters in there somewhere.
    Not. A. Purist.

  • Rich bauter December 22, 2013, 11:22 pm


    I love my Manhattan but find it more satisfying without adding bitters. I use Wild Turkey 101, sweet vermouth and mariachio cherry and a drop of cherry juice.

    Is there a specific name for a Manhattan without bitters as I describe?

    Rich BAUTER

  • John August 27, 2012, 8:40 am

    You can never go wrong with the classics.

    • Adam August 30, 2012, 11:47 am

      John — no kidding!

  • Erica March 1, 2012, 11:02 am

    Love this recipe. I hate sugary cocktails, so anything with bitters is a must-try for me. Bonus: very sophisticated!

  • Elen Grey February 29, 2012, 3:02 pm

    That looks divine. I haven’t had a Manhattan in some time. Now, I’m thinking I need to correct that. I’m printing!

    • Adam February 29, 2012, 8:41 pm



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