Learn How to Make the Best Manhattan You’ll Ever Have


The final season of “Mad Men” has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate than with another classic cocktail? This week, I’m sharing the recipe for a drink that’s not only delicious, but holds a special meaning for me.

See, the Manhattan was my grandfather’s drink. Though he passed away when I was very young, I treasure the few memories that I have of him: he taught me to how to fish in the pond next to my grandparents’ house, and he gave me my beloved Teddy Ruxpin doll (remember those?). A couple of Thanksgivings ago, my aunt shared with me grandpa Skip’s recipe for the perfect Manhattan, and ever since the drink has become something of a family tradition. Manhattans are traditionally served in a cocktail glass neat (that’s as-is, with no accoutrements for you bartending newbies), but I prefer the drink mixed in a shaker and poured over ice.


Grandpa Skip’s Perfect Manhattan

Angostura bitters
Sweet Vermouth
Dry Vermouth
Cocktail shaker
Maraschino cherry (optional)
Ice (optional)

Step 1:
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Add two jiggers of whiskey to your cocktail shaker.

Step 2:
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Next, add 1/2 jigger sweet vermouth and 1/2 jigger dry vermouth to the shaker.

Step 3:

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Dash in some Angostura bitters and shake, shake, shake.

Step 4:
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If using, add some ice to your cocktail glass and pour your drink. Garnish with a cherry if you like — my aunt and I like to swirl the extra cherry juice into our Manhattans for extra color and flavor — and enjoy!

The Manhattan is a flexible drink — there are tons of different variations. For example, if you use scotch in place of the whiskey the drink becomes a Rob Roy. You can also use only dry or only sweet vermouth for a dry or traditional Manhattan, or swap out the whiskey for rum or tequila to make a Cuban or a Tijuana Manhattan.

Are you acquainted with this classic cocktail? Which variation is your favorite?

About Jamie

Jamie loves reading and writing, and she's especially fond of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She also enjoys RPGs (both tabletop and console), crocheting, baking, and hiking, and she's passionate about unicorns, tea, flannel shirts, novelty socks, and William Shatner.

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  1. Vicky 04/16/2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Awesome Story! Daddy would have loved it…. I believe I shall have to make one.

  2. Ashra 04/16/2014 at 6:32 pm #

    This is my favorite drink & has been for years. My version at home only has sweet vermouth, no cherry juice, a single cherry & 2 ice cubes

  3. Harmony 04/16/2014 at 7:41 pm #

    I love Manhattens! I have never made my own but now I have no excuse not to with this recipe.

  4. Rachel Lauren 04/18/2014 at 2:37 pm #

    Yum! Such a delicious treat for summer nights! I have the perfect Mad Men Style cocktail glasses in my Etsy store! Check it out at http://www.vintagepod.com!

  5. Beth C. 05/08/2014 at 5:01 pm #

    LOOOVE Manhattans. I highly recommend giving the Cuban Manhattan a go, it really is divine. Also, one thing to really know here, quality counts in this drink, especially with the vermouth. Do yourself a favor and spend a little more for a decent bottle, especially for the sweet vermouth.

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