The Classic Manhattan

Been drinking these for forty+ years and consider myself a friendly snob of the cocktail. (c;

For those of you that are fans, love to hear your comments and alternatives. And now for my “perfect” Manhattan:

1.5 oz bottom shelf Canadian whiskey (C.C. Is my fav).

1 oz top shelf rye (WhistlePig, Knob Creek Select or single cask, even Bulleit).

1 Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino cherry, plus a few drops of syrup (yeah, I tried Luxardo and they are just goop to me).

3/4 oz Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth (I’ve tried them all, including Carpana Antica, M&R is best IMHO).

Dash of Angostura bitters (or the bitters of your choice).

I prefer them on the rocks, but straight up is ok too.


We’re in the 100% rye camp, Bulleit, Rittenhouse, Wild Turkey, nothing exotic. Rocks when we’re too lazy to shake. The alternative is a Boulevardier, basically a rye Negroni in our homemade interpretation.


I do two parts bourbon, Evan William, or if I can find it EW 1783, is my everyday bourbon
1 part M&R Rosso vermouth, agree about that
Several dashes of Angostura bitters
Orange peel
Bada Bing or Sable & Rosenfeld Tipsy cherry
Always on the rocks
And I love Boulevardiers, I am sipping one as I type.


I also am a fan of all rye. High West double rye is my go to. Boulevardier is fantastic with rye.

I always order them with Maker’s Mark. Straight up, stirred.

I like three parts rye to one part vermouth, a heavy dash of bitters and either a couple of Luxardo or Fabbri Amarena cherries in syrup, or frozen tart cherries if I want something less sweet (I pick and freeze a few pounds every year for pie and cocktails). The frozen cherries also do double duty keeping my drink cold without watering it down.

I’m less picky about the rye than the vermouth - really any decent rye will do (though I’m partial to George Dickel), but I strongly prefer Dolin vermouth to any other I’ve tried.

ETA: Here’s an interesting run down of red vermouth. I agree with their assessments of those I’ve tried, though I am less of a fan of Cinzano than they are - it’s at the bottom of my rankings.


I used to use only Bulleit but switched. I still have an Old Fashioned with it sometimes.

Bulleit Bourbon or Rye, or Maker’s Mark-- whichever I have on hand, and it is usually one of them. Can’t say I measure the ingredients, but probably along the lines of what is typical.

I prefer Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, but mom prefers Tribuno, which is sweeter. She prefers Rob Roy’s to Manhattan’s (the Scotch version) with a hefty pour of sweet vermouth.

As for bitters, I go the traditional route with Angostura but Woodford Reserve makes excellent spiced cherry bitters and Fee Brothers has black walnut which are particularly good for changing things up this time of year.


I usually order a Rye Manhattan when out, with extra bitters . Because of so few ingredients, I think the vermouth makes a huge difference. We all frequently specify the base liquor, but we generally get whatever vermouth the bar happens to have, and it makes up 1/4 to 1/3 of the drink. At home, I am using Guerin Vermouth, but I do sometimes switch around and use La Quintinye. I also like a lot of bitters, to somewhat offset the sweetness, and I am currently using Woodster Smoked Orange bitters (in the sense of full disclosure, my son’s boutique bitters company makes it).

Agreed - I am way pickier about the vermouth than the rye in a Manhattan. My DH ordered one last weekend at a place that had a HUGE selection of rye, but only one red vermouth - Carpano Antica, which is fine but not his favorite. The rye the chose (a regional American) wasn’t great, but the drink could have been saved with a vermouth more to his liking. Instead, it was a total flop.

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Interesting. I have been experimenting with a Manhattan variant (the Red Hook) using several different Ryes but I have started to really like it using 2 ounces of Bulleit Rye, 1/2 ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Originale and 1/2 ounce of Dolin Dry Vermouth with a maraschino cherry as garnish.
It isn’t high brow but it works for me. Punt e Mes was a bit too sweet, but that may have been me saying I just didn’t want to buy a bottle of overpriced vermouth.
I can sit with this drink in my hand and be pretty darned satisfied with life.


As someone who has done (mostly gifted) a bunch of high brow ryes, Bulleit 95 is pretty darned good, and it is tough to justify spending three times that for the top shelf ryes.

Same for the vermouths IMHO… I actually prefer the cheaper ones… both Dolin and M&R.

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That sounds really good. Will definitely have to try it. Bulletin is one of our usual bourbons but I don’t think I’ve ever tried their rye. Luxardo is a new addition to the bar.

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IMO, Dolin is a perfectly respectable dry vermouth for one’s home bar.

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Considering how long it takes me to use a bottle of Vermouth I probably could spring for a “better” brand but I like the results with Dolin so far.
Side question, does my storing the vermouth in the refrigerator help or hinder its freshness? I had read that vermouth will start to turn bad in a couple months.
True or not?
Refrigerate it, or keep it on the shelf in a shady spot?
Thank you for any feedback!

I refrigerate. But it also doesn’t take me that long to get through a bottle.

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If you keep an open bottle around for months, I’d suggest you keep it in the fridge. While it won’t necessarily go “bad”, it will oxidate and lose flavor.

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I agree with Scottin and small_h. I keep both my sweet and dry vermouths in the refrigerator, because it takes a while to go through them.