This classic Manhattan cocktail is classic for a reason! Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth plus a secret ingredient that gives a little twist on the original drink!
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I only get sick about once a year, but when I do I am OUT. When I first started getting sick and I realized I wouldn’t be able to do my normal blogging work (recipe testing, photography, editing and writing), I thought I would still be able to use my time to be productive. You know, organize my pinterest, read some educational articles, the types of things that are usually on my to do list, but towards the bottom. Do you know what I actually did in my week of sick time?
1. Lay on the couch.
2. Watch Netflix
3. Make tea
4. Finish “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson (love her)
5. Resort to watching old episodes of “Angel” because I ran out of TV shows.
So turns out I was not able to be productive during my sick leave. But luckily Mr. Briar and I are finally on the mend, and what better way to celebrate than with a classic Manhattan cocktail?
The Classic Manhattan cocktail
Have you ever had a Manhattan? It is one of Mr. Briar’s favorite drinks. The problem with the Manhattan is that it can be really badly-made sometimes. The first time he had one it was terrrrible. Like all things with just a few ingredients, it is important to use high quality ones.
The Manhattan is an acquired taste for some
I think the Manhattan is an acquired taste. When we made a batch for recipe testing purposes (hey, it’s my job, what are you gonna do?) I think it was the first time I actually LIKED a Manhattan. We also stumbled on a little addition that is optional and not a classic ingredient, but will sweeten up the drink a bit if you like that.
This little trick adds sweetness and complexity to your Manhattan
What is the secret ingredient? Cherry juice. Specifically, just a few drops of the syrup from the jar of Luxardo Maraschino cocktail cherries. Don’t get these original Italian cocktail cherries confused with the bright red dye colored American maraschino cherries. Luxardo cherries are sour Marasca cherries preserved in Luxrado Liqueur, which is made of the cherries themselves. Luxardo cherries are chewy, sweet, and taste like actual cherries.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes angostura bitters
- 2-3 cocktail cherries
- A few drops of syrup from the cocktail cherries optional
- Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters and cherry syrup (if using).
- Stir for 90 seconds.
- Strain into a martini glass
- Garnish with cherries.
Have you ever had a Manhattan? What is your favorite drink?
If you make this recipe don’t forget to tag it @foxandbriar and #foxandbriar on instagram and facebook! I really love to see what you make!
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase the items I recommend through the links I provide, I get a small commission. For more info, please see my disclosure policy. Thanks for supporting Fox and Briar!
Looking yummy! I will try it.
Simple, refreshing and sexy
How do you add the cherry juice drops?
Hi, I just use a spoon.
The secret ingredient of Luxrado cherries was the answer to my quest to make a Manhattan as good as Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
So glad to hear that!
Robert Fleming says
The Manhattan has become our family traditional cocktail.
I make with 1 portion Jack Daniels 1 Portion
Southern Comfort Half portion of sweet vermouth 2 dashes of angostura bitters 1 cherry. When I prepare the ice I add at least
3 drops of cherry juice
Sounds delicious! Thanks Robert.
Love all the positivity – it’s a great drink. Two thoughts:
1) I’m with you on a little cherry juice – I use Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries – awesome cherry flavor and not too sweet. You can buy them on Amazon.
2) If you like adding cherry juice, try just a little Grand Marnier (like a teaspoon) (can do both that and cherry juice if you want). It sweetens it just a touch and the orange flavor goes really well with the restof the drink.
Love the idea of adding Grand Marnier, I will definitely be trying that. Thanks Mike!
Just say NO to Maraschino Cherries!! Keep it original with Brandied Cherries and 1 tablespoon of the Brandied juice. So easy to make when the cherries are ripe in summer and will be perfectly “Brandied” for fall. I make 4 quarts every year, try it and you will have a REAL Manhattan!
Hi Mark – yep, the modern version of maraschino cherries with the red dye are not the best! I sometimes use Luxarado cherries, which are the original maraschino cherries. Cheers to making your own cherries! That has been on my project list for a few years, maybe next summer!
I’ve always included about a 1/2 tsp of cherry juice when adding the cherry to the glass. I tire of instructing bartenders on how to make a proper Manhattan. When ordering, if not asked, you’ll want to specify the whisky. Not being asked is a precursor to a terrible experience. My fav is Eagle Rare. This drink is all about the whisky. Stirred gently, never shaken.
Thanks Joe! I will have to try the Eagle Rare whisky!
Joe is bang on !!!! Eagle rare has been my choice for a couple years now. I also use the luxardo cherries and a bit of the syrup. Biggest peave don’t they teach bartenders not to shake a Manhattan lol. You will love it Meghan !!!
Oh, good to know! Thanks Dave!
This looks very tasty.
Thank you! I hope you give it a try!
a maraschino cherry with some of its juice in a Manhattan is not new . If your sick , warm some Brandy up on the stovetop.That is the proper drink when your sick. じゃまてね
Ok, thanks 😂
this is my favorite manhattan recipe. I especially love the addition of the few drops of cherry syrup. Opens up the drink very nicely.
Thank you Anthony! So glad you love it!
Cheryl K says
Nice! I think I’ll try this! My fave cocktail is a brandy old fashioned and I always add a little of the cherry juice that that, too.
Oh that sounds great! I hope you enjoyed it!
enjoying my Manhattan as i am writing this. growing up in a home where my parents had a cocktail every night before dinner i acquired a taste for them at an early age (yes, they would give me a few sips of theirs). they were particularly fond of whiskey sours, so naturally i developed a taste for bourbon. Then my godfather introduced me to the Manhattan at my wedding 25 years ago — i was smitten. i also add a bit of cherry juice to the drink, although is must be the luxardo cherries (it looks like that is what you are using in the pix, but “cocktail cherries” are usually regular red dye #2 maraschinos).
anyway, thank you for posting…
Hi Kathleen, so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I prefer the Luxardo cherries, which are the original marachino cherries! Those are great memories of your parents!
demeter | beaming baker says
My goodness, Meghan, I’m very glad that you’re feeling better. I don’t know how I missed this post! You know what though, you ARE supposed to be watching Netflix, reading and, of course, watching old episodes of Angel when you’re sick. David Boreanaz’s face will make anyone get better, and quick! Haha. Meanwhile, girl, you had me at “vermouth.” This drink recipe looks amazeballs! I’m gonna need that cherry syrup, I’m an embarrassingly light drinker. 😉
Thnak you Demeter! The cherry syrup is PERFECT if you are not quite ready for the really “cocktaily” cocktails. It doesn’t make it over the top sweet, just adds a little sumthin sumthin 🙂
I love a good Manhattan, especially when a Luxardo cherry is involved. My favorite cocktail? Well, that is a tough question. To some extent it depends on the time of year and the kind of day it has been. For the winter months it’s between a Hanky Panky, or perhaps a Boulevardier… maybe a Negroni sbagliato. It’s a tough choice!
I can never choose a favorite either! I do love a good negroni, but I have never tried a negroni sbagliato! All of the cocktails you mentioned sound fantastic, I guess I need to add a few to my repertoire! Thank you Adri!
haha oh gosh I used to try to work when really sick and now I just don’t bother anymore! Netflix and couch time are the cure!! I’m glad you are feeling better! This cocktail is making me really really ready for the weekend!!
I am so ready for the weekend too! Thank you Ashley!
Tracy | Baking Mischief says
Ha, when you had that pour shot right after “Do you know what I actually did in my week of sick time?”, I though you were going to say “drink.” But time spent watching “Angel” is equally fun. 😉 Glad you are feeling better.
I’ve some how never had a Manhattan before, but your version looks fantastic. I like that there’s a little sweet modification for us beginners.
Haha, I actually thought about that when I was putting together the post but then I just went with it 🙂 Def just tea and Angel for me that week though. Thanks Tracy, I think the cherry juice is a good trick for beginners too.
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says
Ugh, the flu is the worst and I feel like everyone has it this year. I hope you are feeling better. Since tomorrow is Friday, we can toast to the weekend with a classic Manhattan. Cheers!
Yes, cheers to the weekend! Thank you Ashley!
So sorry that you were sick♥ This looks really nice though ♥
Thank you so much Summer!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I have to give it to you, when I get sick I don’t attempt anything productive, so the fact that you planned to be relatively productive deserves kudos! I certainly hope you are feeling better, girlie! Love Manhattans and yours looks delicious! Adding cherry juice sounds perfect! I’ll take two please! 😉 Cheers!
Thank you Cheyanne! I always think I will get more done than I actually do, so this was no exception 🙂
Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry says
I’m sorry you were sick but honestly, sometimes it’s nice to take a leave of absence from your daily actives and play hooky…haha.
I’m not a huge cocktail drinker, but you have me intrigued about using cherry juice. It sounds like it would give the rye whisky a pleasant sweetness.
Haha, it is true it was nice to not worry about doing ANYTHING for a few days. The cherry juice does add a nice sweetness, I really enjoyed it in this drink! Thanks Nicole!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen says
I’ve never tried a Manhattan before – scared it would be too harsh – but I like the idea of a couple of drops of cherry juice to sweeten it up a tiny bit. Glad you’re over your sickness – the flu is the worst! Also, if you’re looking for things to watch on Netflix – Better Call Saul and Broadchurch Season 1 and 2 are great.
Thanks Geraldine! The cherry juice makes it a little more palatable especially since it is a really strong drink. Is Broadchurch the American or British version? We got totally addicted to the British version a few years ago, but I didn’t know there was a second season! Thanks for the recommendations! I am always in need of new shows 🙂
Looks like a winner! Glad you both are on the mend~~LOVE the photos! ?????
Thanks, me too!