Hand Crafted Manhattan’s (My Dad’s Recipe)

Manhattan title

This post could alternately be called:

“30 reason not too drink too much whiskey at your friend’s 30th birthday party”


Manhattan 2

A month ago, we threw my old roommate Jess a completely epic 30th birthday party.  The theme of the party was Old Fashioned Speakeasy and I worked “behind the bar” most of the night pouring whiskey based cocktails, which  are Jess’ favorite.  We made Whiskey Sours from scratch, Presbyterians with smokey scotch, and my personal favorite, Manhattans.

Whiskey happens to be my spirit of choice as well, and let’s just say I think I sampled a little too much as I was pouring for the guests, and was feeling the pain the next day.  I’m-never-drinking-whiskey-again kind of pain.  We’ve all been there, right?  Fast forward two weeks and while home for Thanksgiving my dad offered to pour me one of his famous Manhattans.  I wasn’t sure I was ready, but his spin on this classic cocktail is so dang good, I couldn’t resist.

If you are new to whiskey, my dad’s recipe is a great place to start.  This version calls for more cherry than the classic, which helps to sweeten up the harsh burn of of the booze.  The other thing to note is classic Manhattans are technically made with rye (a type of whiskey) but I always make mine with bourbon.  Maker’s Mark is my go-to brand.  Use whatever whiskey (or rye or bourbon) that you like, just make sure its a good one, classic cocktails are not a time to be reaching into the well!

Manhattan 1


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 1/2 oz maraschino cherry juice
  • maraschino cherries, for garnish
  • ice  (optional)


  1. If you like your drinks on the rocks, place 1 large ice cube or a few smaller ones in a glass tumbler.  If you like your drinks up, skip the ice.
  2. Pour the bourbon, vermouth, bitters, and cherry juice over the ice.
  3. Stir the drink 5 times with a bar spoon, garnish with cherries, and serve.

Manhattan 3

Just don’t drink too many!


One thought on “Hand Crafted Manhattan’s (My Dad’s Recipe)

  1. Sounds like an awesome party! For my 30th we had a 1920s style cocktail party. Everyone drank a little too much. It was was great 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your Dad’s recipe. My dad’s not much of a drinker, I wouldn’t know if he has any cocktail recipes. Maybe I should ask now that I’m an adult, he might share with me.

    This post would make a great submission to Our Growing Edge, which is a link up party for new food adventures. This month’s theme is “Nostalgia”. More info here: http://bunnyeatsdesign.com/our-growing-edge/

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