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Handcrafted Cocktails: The Manhattan, Two Ways

Master this quintessential drink—then crank it up a notch.

A classic Manhattan is seen in its natural habitat.LOCATION: THE DRIFTER, CHICAGO

What’s better than one classic cocktail? Two ways to craft it. Whet your appetite with my in-depth thoughts on the makeup of the iconic Manhattan, then start out with the classic recipe below. When you’re ready to up your game and show off a little, try your hand at the Rye in Your Britches. That recipe calls for smoked hickory or cedar—if you have access to a smoking box, check out my tutorial here.

Classic Manhattan


2 ounces American rye whiskey (overproof preferred, but bourbon may be substituted)
1 ounce quality, fresh sweet vermouth
2 to 3 dashes aromatic bitters
Quality maraschino cherry or twist, for garnish

How to craft it:

Combine whiskey, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass. Stir to chill and dilute. Pour into an Old Fashioned, martini, or coupe glass and garnish.

Rye in Your Britches


2 ounces American Rye Whiskey
¾ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
1 dash Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters
2 ounces milk stout beer

How to craft it:
Combine whiskey, cherry liqueur, and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Gently pour in milk stout—a basic stout will work in a pinch—stir lightly, and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Scrape nutmeg over the top. For a final flourish, smoke with hickory or cedar/cigar aroma.

Learn more about Charles Joly’s world-recognized bartending skills here and follow his spirited adventures on Instagram.

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