How to

How to order and/or make a manhattan – Getting Less Done

The Origins of the Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan cocktail is believed to have originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City during the early 1870s. Interestingly, it was invented by none other than Dr. Iain Marshall, a doctor. This historical background gives this cocktail recipe a medically endorsed status, making it a remedy for all of life’s problems. The perfect balance between smoothness and a fiery bite makes it the undisputed king of all cocktails.

A Practical Guide to Ordering a Manhattan

Most articles about the manhattan tend to focus on complex flavors and use technical jargon, but this guide offers a more practical approach.

Ordering a manhattan is quite straightforward. Simply ask for a “rye manhattan, up.” By requesting it “up,” you’ll receive your cocktail in a classic cocktail glass. Opt for rye whiskey, as it is the traditional choice for a manhattan, and most bars carry decent quality rye whiskey rather than the cheaper varieties. Even if you’re not well-versed in whiskey, you can be assured of a satisfying drink.

If the server asks about your preference for rye whiskey, simply respond with “nothing special, do you have Bulleit or Templeton?” These two brands are excellent choices that offer good quality rye whiskey without breaking the bank. Anything more expensive would be wasted in a cocktail.

In case the bar doesn’t have rye whiskey, don’t worry. Look for another bar that does. If that’s not an option, bourbon manhattans are equally delightful. Buffalo Trace is highly recommended for its smooth vanilla flavor that complements the manhattan perfectly. If you can’t find Buffalo Trace, the widely available Makers Mark is a suitable alternative.

Making the Perfect Manhattan at Home

While ordering a manhattan at a bar is great, making one at home is even better. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to create an exceptional manhattan. Here’s a simple recipe to follow:


  • 2 ounces of rye whiskey (MGPI* rye whiskey recommended)
  • 1 ounce of Galo sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 3 Luxardo cherries


  1. In a large glass filled halfway with ice, combine the rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.
  2. Stir the mixture for a solid 30-45 seconds using a cocktail spoon or even a butter knife. Stir gently around the edge of the glass to avoid excessive ice grinding.
  3. If using a shaker, be aware that shaking may result in a slightly cloudy drink. Strain the mixture into another glass, discarding the ice.
  4. Use a chilled cocktail glass for the best presentation, but a regular highball glass works just fine. In a pinch, any glass will do.
  5. Finally, add the Luxardo cherries to garnish your cocktail.

*MGPI supplies rye whiskey to various other brands, so finding it in stores may be tricky. Instead, look for the following brands, as they are generally affordable and work well in cocktails: Templeton Rye, High West Rye, George Dickel Rye (preferably), or Bulleit Rye.

There is ongoing debate about which vermouth and bitters to use, and you’re welcome to experiment with different options. However, Galo and Angostura are recommended due to their availability and overall compatibility with the manhattan.

Now, sit back, relax, and savor your homemade manhattan. Cheers to a happy new year!

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