Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

The Manhattan cocktail, as you may have guessed, is rumored to have originated in Manhattan, but as with most booze histories, is somewhat dubious when it comes to the particulars. A personal favorite is the theory that the Bourbon-Vermouth combination owes its name to the name of the New York sewage water.

However, this reasoning is probably not why Manhattans are popular. Aside from their rich, smooth flavors, they were a favorite of Marilyn Monroe’s in Some Like it Hot as well as an alternative to Cosmos for the ladies of Sex and the City. Manhattans must have also held an allure for Jack Kerouac who referenced them frequently in his novels.

The generally accepted ingredients are Whiskey or Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, and bitters. The varieties even within this trifecta, though, are infinite. The different Bourbons and Whiskeys available can provide a stunning diversity in their subtle flavors and there are many types of bitters that can be used as well.

What we have for your drinking pleasure, though, is the Classic Manhattan recipe.


    2 oz rye Jim Beam Rye Whiskey

    1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

    2 dashes Augustura Bitters

    5 cubes of ice

    1 fancy mixer


    Photo: Kenn Wilson

    Pour the Whiskey and Sweet Vermouth over the cubes into a lowballer cocktail glass. Add bitters, mix, and sip away.