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Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan Cocktail was already on the books of cocktail bars and top bartenders in the late 1880s. Since then, the drink has changed little to nothing. The Manhattan Cocktail recipe remains an aromatic and sophisticated cocktail alternative to this day. Here you can learn how to prepare the aromatic and tart cocktail and enjoy it at home.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

  • 6 cl rye whiskey
  • 3 cl red vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Step by Step Guide

  1. Stir all ingredients together with ice in a mixing glass until well blended.
  2. Strain into a martini glass
  3. Strain and serve.
manhattan cocktail
Recipe by Chris

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The preparation of the Manhattan Cocktail is very simple. First, put all the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice cubes and stir well. It is best to measure the ingredients with a jigger so that you use exactly the right amounts. Then strain the mix through a bar strainer into a pre-chilled martini glass. You are welcome to add an obligatory cocktail cherry to the glass or sprinkle the drink with a lemon peel and then add this to the glass.

Bar Accessories:

  • Stirring glass
  • Ice cubes
  • Martini glass

Manhattan flavour profile


39 Reviews

Due to the rye whisky, the whisky cocktail tastes tart and dry and is very complex. It has a lot of edges and corners, perfect for demanding connoisseurs and those who want to become one. The bitter and alcoholic taste are clearly in the foreground. In addition, the drink is strongly influenced by the taste of the whisky used.


Soda water

Is the Manhattan Cocktail too strong for you in its “natural form”? Then simply add a little soda water. This softens the intense flavour and makes the cocktail easier to drink.

Martini Glass

Would you like to present the cocktail in a very eye-catching and unorthodox way? Then simply serve the drink in a martini glass. This glass makes for a stylish appearance, even with cocktails that are actually served in a tumbler.


The Manhattan Cocktail has a long and eventful history. It was first prepared in the USA in the early 1870s. Dr. Ian Marshall is considered the inventor of the Manhattan Cocktail. After he served the drink for the first time at a banquet, it was ordered and enjoyed with great popularity. This was in 1874 at the “New York Manhattan Club”. This banquet is said to have been hosted by Jennie Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill, who later became Prime Minister of England. When other bars asked for the drink, the whisky cocktail quickly spread across the bars of America and eventually the world.

The “golden age” of the drink was in the 1920s to 1930s. That’s when the Manhattan was voted the second most popular aperitif. Only the gin cocktail called Dry Martini achieved a better position. After Prohibition in America, a lot of Canadian whisky was imported, so that Canadian whisky established itself as the main ingredient of the Manhattan. Today, it is mainly the stronger rye whisky that is mixed into the drink.

Manhattan Island

There are many stories and legends about the origin of the name “Manhattan Island”. One of them says that at the beginning of the 17th century, a man named Henry Hudson prepared a drink reminiscent of today’s Manhattan. He served it to Indians on a hitherto unnamed island.

The Indians fell into intoxication-like states from the cocktail, which is why they gave the island the name “Manhachtanieck”. Loosely translated, this means “island where we got intoxicated.” Over the years, this became “Manhattan Island”. Whether this story corresponds to the actual events on the island cannot be conclusively clarified. However, it is amusing to think that this is how the name of the island came about.

Manhattan vs. Dry Martini

Both the Manhattan and the Dry Martini are drinks with the basic ingredient: vermouth. Some people refer to the Dry Martini as the “king of all cocktails” and the Manhattan as the “queen of all cocktails”. You have to decide for yourself whether this title is correct. The fact is that both the Manhattan and the Dry Martini are absolute classics in the cocktail scene. The two drinks competed with each other as early as the 1920s and 1930s. To this day, these two cocktails are still vying for the position as the best aperitif. Just try the drinks yourself and find your favourite!

The Evergreen Cocktail

No cocktail menu should be without a Manhattan. Countless bars have the drink on their menu and serve this unforgettable drink again and again. The Manhattan is considered a man’s cocktail. It is very tart and has many rough edges. The New York newspaper “The Democrat” stated as early as the 19th century that every bartender in the city should know this cocktail. The drink was loved in New York simply because of the name of a New York borough. The date on which the first Manhattan was served is still not known exactly.

The rather hoppy taste of whiskey cocktails should often be exchanged with sweetish components. The Manhattan Cocktail is exactly the opposite of this attempt. It still stands up to the cocktail trend, which is dominated by too much sweetness, and impresses with its tart, alcoholic ingredients. Many other cocktail classics suffer from this trend and await the rebirth of tart cocktails. The Manhattan was one of the first tart cocktails to inspire many new drinks.

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Manhattan Cocktail - FAQ

What does the Manhattan Cocktail taste like?

The Manhattan Cocktail is primarily characterised by the taste of the whisky used. Vermouth also plays a strong role in the taste of the cocktail. It is tart and alcoholic. If you are looking for a sweet cocktail, you should rather prepare a different drink.

How do you prepare a Manhattan Cocktail?

Simply mix the ingredients (whisky, Angostura bitters and vermouth) in a mixing glass and strain the mixture into a martini glass. Then garnish with a lemon zest and serve.

What is a Manhattan Cocktail?

A Manhattan is a whisky cocktail that is classically served in a martini glass. This drink is known all over the world and is prepared and enjoyed in bars and restaurants. It has a tart, dry taste and can also be served as a martini.

Who invented the whisky cocktail?

Dr Ian Marshall is considered the inventor of the Manhattan Cocktail. He served the cocktail at a banquet in the 1870s. After that, the drink became very popular and can still be ordered in various bars today.