There is nothing like a classic Manhattan, a whiskey base and garnished with boozy cherries. While it’s great year round, it’s a perfect winter cocktail hour drink, and learning how to make a Manhattan Cocktail will surely impress at your next dinner party!
Christmas and New Year’s At Our House
At our house we’ve been having a lovely few weeks of quiet time. It’s been pj’s all day, napping with the baby, and happy hour at 5. This past year was such a stressful, rushed, race of a year. Our first full year with the baby was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but such an adjustment.
Not to mention we had some big things going on – I changed day jobs, my husband and I both started serious, hope-to-make-a-profit-doing-what-we-love blogs. My mother had pneumonia twice, and there were big purchases to make (hello minivan life!).
So it’s been nice to end the year with a detente, an unraveling, an unwinding.
And a cocktail in hand.
This classic Manhattan cocktail made an appearance on Christmas Eve and again on New Year’s Eve. For Christmas Even we had good friends over, and I love nothing more than preparing a nice cocktail for everyone, passing them around, and then sitting down in a cozy room for conversation and clinking while the baby skimpers around the room.
Y’all – he’s just so darn cute right now!
Not just walking, but running EVERYWHERE. We are finally baby proofed enough in one room that I can take my eyes off him for a few seconds. But seriously, he plays by himself a bit, and then comes running to me, throws his arms around my legs, and wants HUGS.
I just melt I tell you!
He’s becoming so much more his own person, which is of course bittersweet as I fell those baby days slipping by the bye, but I still am just trying to enjoy every single moment.
I’m glad I waited until I was older to have him. I’m not sure, if I were younger, I would have the presence of mind to soak it all up, to savor it, the way I am trying to do now. I’m not sure if I could have been as intentional as I am.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t also hard, sometimes.
I was also sick over the holidays, and as we’re still nursing some, I was limited in what I could take. There was a day when the baby was cranky, and I was cranky, and cranky was just the word of the day.
But that day was over pretty quickly.
And you always have days like that, you know? Whether you have a baby or not.
And seriously, this Christmas was the BEST.
Setting new traditions, wrapping gifts for his little baby hands to open, seeing those bright surprised eyes on Christmas morning. Sipping coffee while he unravelled ribbons.
It was just what I wanted.
But then, we were talking about cocktails weren’t we?
Manahattans are, of course, nothing new to the cocktail scene. But they encompass something I love about the best cocktails.
The bite of the whiskey, the herbaceous bitters, the sweet velvety smooth vermouth. And as true classics, they never go out of style.
I’m going to be blogging some of my favorite classic cocktails over the next few weeks. I love to try new craft liquors and liqueurs with time tested recipes. And I’ll be doing some of that over the New Year as well.
And I’ll be exploring a few new cocktails as well as we get further into the year.
I am of course still learning, and no mixologist, not really.
Just an avid home bartender.
I like to make drinks, I like to drink drinks, and I like to share them with friends.
And you too of course!
So I thought I would begin with how to make a manhattan cocktail, and follow that up soon with how to make a classic martini. I feel that these drinks have gotten a bad rap over the years, and have often been made with poor ingredients.
Ingredients matter, y’all!
And I feel that learning how to make a manhattan cocktail, and other drinks, takes practice.
Lol, tough work, right?
It starts with the right tools!
You’ll want a proper cocktail shaker, jigger, and shot glass. I recommend starting with this inexpensive set. You’ll definitely want the strainer for this and other cocktails.
And for the cherries – well, I now keep these on hand in my bar cart all the time. I also have started collecting fun cocktail picks! You can get a set like mine here.
Because once you learn how to make a Manhattan cocktail and serve it to friends, it tends to get requested a lot!
And if you like this Manhattan cocktail, you may also want to check out this Kentucky Flyer Whiskey Cocktail. It’s very similar, but has a slightly sweeter, slightly smoother profile.
Don’t get me wrong – a sweet drink it is not. But if this drink hangs in perfect balance, the Kentucky Flyer edges a tick towards the sweeter side. I recommend trying it out as a variation after you’ve learned
How to Make A Manhattan Cocktail
- 3 Ounces Whiskey I like a higher proof (100 or so) for this cocktail.
- 1 1/2 Ounces Sweet Vermouth Dolin Rouge is my go-to vermouth that I always keep on hand, though there are loads of new and interesting ones out there!
- 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters I substitute Angosture Orange Bitters for this frequently.
- 3 Luxardo Cherries You can also garnish with a twist of orange if you don't have the cherries on hand.
- Place ice in a cocktail shaker until it is about a quarter full of ice.
- Add whiskey, then vermouth.
- Add three dashes of bitters.
- Stir for 30-40 revolutions, or until you can feel the chill from the ice and cocktail starting to spread up the shaker.
- Strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass.
- Garnish with 3 or more cherries, and serve immediately.
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This cocktail sounds so good!
This blogpost is…gold. Everyone needs details on how to make a Manhattan. Love it…thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Traci! I think so too 🙂 Cheers!
My mom loved Manhattans. It was her special cocktail. What a glorious cocktail you made! And aren’t that brand of cherries the best? Great recipe that I will be trying and be toasting my mom!
Aw, thanks Elaine! And yes! I LOVE Luxardo cherries. So perfect for Manhattans. And snacking while making them lol 🙂
Nothing like a good Manhattan to ease a hard day 🙂 Kid’s grow up so soon, so enjoy each n every second of their cuddles n cutesy talks.
Thanks Molly! I’m sure going to try!
Woohoo I’m down with having this drink any time of the year! I love how sophisticated this is! 🙂
Thanks Joyce! Me too 🙂
I don’t know why, but I can’t do Manhattan’s unless they’ve got the burned orange peel… like I need the citrus to cut through the sweetness of the cherries. One day I’ll be an efficient Manhattan drinker. 😉
Hi Rae thank you for commenting!
You can actually omit the cherries altogether and do citrus peel, though that’s getting more in the old fashioned territory. Me I like it all, but I also definitely prefer my cocktails less sweet!
It sounds like a fun, great holiday season! Good luck in the year to come!
I think knowing how to make a Manhattan is an important skill to have under your belt. And I must admit, I’ve never made one. So, looks like I need to follow your lead here. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Traci! It’s definitely worth mastering. And not too difficult.
I never knew how to make a classic Manhattan cocktail. I’m glad I found your recipe 🙂