Bourbon Manhattan, a Red Carpet Drink

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Bourbon Manhattan from Spinach Tiger

Today the academy awards will commence and I’ve been trying to think of a perfect red carpet drink. I chose the manhattan for its elegance and timelessness.

I was at an intimate blogger dinner a few weeks ago, and while our host was excited to bring us some very good wine, everyone wanted to begin with a cocktail. The choices were inventive without being silly. I got a little taste of each ordered, but my manhattan still won the prize in starting off a memorable evening. I wanted a second, but I knew I was supposed to move over to wine.

The manhattan is one of my favorite drinks. I have a thing for vintage and the manhattan has been around a long time, in fact  its roots stretch back to the old Manhattan Club, in 1874.

The funny thing about a drink like a manhattan is that it is being happily sipped by two distinct age groups, the older side of the baby boomers and millennials.

The barely of drinking age millennial demographic is celebrating not only the artful cocktail, but vintage drinks that go back over a century. They drink more different types of spirits than any other age group and they drink them differently. They grab the manhattans and old fashioneds in social settings and value the entire process, from small batch distilleries, to authentic approaches and (of course) cool glassware. I applaud it, and embrace the cocktail movement, that is doing something quite unique.

The cocktail of today reaches back to history for authenticity and appreciation and is being reinvented in a whole new way with herbs, greens, fruits, botanicals,and hundreds of types of bitters, along with unique simple syrups and sea salts.

This is a manly option, served on the “rock” a square frozen cube. You can shop molds here.

Pimento Cheese Gorgeres from Spinach Tiger

The Elegant Manhattan

Every time I think about manhattans, I think about the time I was a server in college. I served hundreds of manhattans to little old ladies, and back in those days, I kept thinking that maybe this drink had medicinal purposes. It came with a small carafe which gave them 1 1/2 drinks. Those were the days.

Bourbon Manhattan Cocktail

The Real Manhattan

The original manhattan is made with rye, sweet vermouth and angostura bitters and some will say that you cannot touch the perfection of this drink.

Perhaps that’s true, but I like bourbon.

The only question remains is what bourbon to use. That’s your choice.  I love several bourbons, but today I’m drinking Blanton’s. I love Four Rose’s, Angel’s Envy, but it’s a long list, because there is a lot of good bourbon to choose from.

Once you decide if it’s rye or bourbon, then make a proper decision to use Luxardo cherries. I can’t have a manhattan without a cherry! Shop Luxardo Cherries here.

You can drink this on the rocks, but I love a drink in a coup glass. I picked these up on amazon, and while the rim is not that delicate, the stem has that vintage look I was searching for. Shop Vintage Coup glasses here.

Stir, do not shake

Shaking this drink will make it cloudy, so stir gently and enjoy.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Bourbon Manhattan

Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz French sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo cherry orange peel


  • Place bourbon, vermouth, bitters and ice in pitcher.
  • Stir. Do not shake, or the drink will get cloudy.
  • Garnish with cherry, and an orange peel.


For a less sweet manhattan, reduce the sweet vermouth.

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  1. I remember asking for a Manhattan at a bar when I was in my early 20s (back around 2000), and the younger bartender had no clue how to make it. An older bartender swept in and taught him, and I had my first Manhattan. I guess I was a proto-hipster. 😉

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