How to Make the Perfect Manhattan

by Pamela

whisky drinks, classic cocktail, the manhattan cocktail, the perfect manhattan, canadian club classic

There’s the Manhattan and then there’s the Perfect Manhattan.  What’s the difference you say?  Realistically not all that much (just don’t say that to true whisky drinks aficionados.  The Manhattan cocktail is made with whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters.  The Perfect Manhattan adds a bit of dry vermouth to the mix.  Yes, that’s really the difference between a the regular ol’ Manhattan and a Perfect one.

I was recently sent a bottle of Canadian Club Classic 12 Whisky.  So I got down to doing some comparison and creation.

Canadian whisky is typically thought of as a lighter whisky than most (although there are some heavier ones), which makes it one of the more popular whisky’s around.  In fact Canadian Club Whisky has a long history of being a favorite spirit.  The company was founded back in 1858 by a man named Hiram Walker.  Walker’s whisky was the “unofficial” Whisky of Prohibition.  Can you imagine if the marketing machine that exists today was around back then?  That’s like a bonanza for a t-shirt salesman.  But I digress.

You know my fondness for whisky drinks.  By the way…what’s the difference between a whisky, a bourbon and a scotch (they are pretty much the same color after all)?  Newsflash…they are the same thing.  Then why the difference in what they’re called?  It depends on where the spirit is made.  Whisky is called whisky when it’s produced in Canada.  The version that is made in America is the only one that can be called bourbon and the version produced in Scotland is scotch.  Of course there are distinctive differences in the flavors of each of these.  Which makes sense since not all whisky drinks taste the same.

Since Canadian Club is a classic Canadian whisky and the Classic 12 has a flavor profile of spicy and creamy, with hints of vanilla and a rich (yet mellow) wood essence I didn’t want to go crazy with some weird whisky cocktail with funny ingredients and a surface floating lots of frills and doo-dads.

The-Manhattan-Coctail The Perfect Manhattan

No, I wanted to showcase the spirits flavors with a classic cocktail hence, the Perfect Manhattan.  What makes this libation a classic cocktail is that it contains tried and true, straightforward ingredients.  These are the spirits that you can add to your bar stock and will return to time and time again.  I like to think of whisky as the little black dress of the bar.

Today you get a bit of a bonus…a twofer.  Canadian Club too has been seduced by the show Mad Men which, while focusing on the men and women from the ad world in the 60’s, finds the classic cocktail playing second fiddle only to Don Draper.  So I’m also going to give you their recipe for The Millionaire’s Manhattan.

So pick one, or maybe make both, and relish in the simple perfection of the Manhattan cocktail.

Relationship Advice

Women have simple needs.  We just want something to believe in.



Recipe: The Perfect Manhattan


  • 1 1/2 Ounces Canadian Club Classic 12 Whisky
  • 1/4 Ounce Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 Ounce Sweet Vermouth (this is the red vermouth)
  • 2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters


  1. Fill a large glass with ice and add ingredients.
  2. Stir and strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Quick notes

Note that this drink is stirred. It is not shaken so as not to make it cloudy. It should be clear.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)



Recipe: The Millionaire’s Manhattan


  • 1 Part Harvey’s Bristol Cream
  • 2 Parts Canadian Club Classic 12
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters


  1. Fill a lowball glass with ice and add ingredients.
  2. Stir.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)





Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Steven Traina December 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

Most Canadian whisky is blended whisky – straight whisky blended with a neutral spirit.
Bourbon is one of many types of American whiskey, which, believe it or not, does not have to be made in Kentucky to be called Bourbon. For a spirit to be called Bourbon, it must contain a mash bill of no less than 51% and no more than 79% corn. It also must be aged in charred virgin American oak barrels. Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a designation for Bourbon that is made in Kentucky, aged no less than 2 years and containing no additives – i.e. coloring, flavoring, or neutral spirit.
There is also rye, Tennessee, single malt (malted barley), wheat, corn (made of 80% or more corn), and blended whiskeys produced in the U.S.
The Manhattan cocktail was originally made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and aromatic bitters (Boker’s and Abbott’s were used in those days). Today, most Manhattans are made with Bourbon, although rye is making a comeback. Occasionally one would request a Manhattan made of Blended or Tennessee whiskeys. Use scotch, and it becomes a Rob Roy; Irish whiskey and it becomes a Tom Moore.

I prefer to make my Mahattan as follows:

3 oz. Templeton Rye or Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (the original and still the best vermouth – you can drink it all on it’s own)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters #6
1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

A Perfect Manhattan is made by using equal parts of sweet and dry vermouths. It has little to do with French and Italian vermouth, like some would lead you to believe. To make that a Perfect Manhattan, reduce the Carpano Antica to ½ oz. and add ½ oz. of Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth. Substitute the maraschino cherry for a lemon twist.

Harley Cassel March 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Well, I was intrigued with the Millionaire Manhattan recipe. I ran out and bought the Harvey’s Bristol Cream and the Orange Bitters. My analysis: It’s just Okay! Not anything special. However everyone to his own taste. So, the bottom-line is that I will stick to my old traditional Manhattan. Now what to do with the Harvey’s Bristol Cream and the Orange Bitters.

Pamela March 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I’ve never made the Millionaire Manhattan. As for your leftover dilemma….There are lots of drink recipes that use orange bitters now, so you should be able to find some good uses for those. You could try adding a couple of dashes to an old fashioned in place of an orange slice. The Harvey’s Bristol Cream has a couple of things brought to mind. It’s used a lot when making English trifles. Or you could use it to make killer mushrooms. Saute some mushrooms (and maybe a few onions if you like) in a pan with butter, then add some of the HBC. You’ll get a nice rich mushroom sauce.

Harley Cassel February 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I guess you have to call me “Old Fashion” (excuse the pun), but the Manhattan has been my drink now for 50 years. I consider it an integral foundation to longevity. However, my Mans are concocted from the lower price traditional Canadian Club that is aged just 6 years. In any event, I have always opted for 3 parts CC to one part Sweet Vermouth, preferably Martini & Rossi. I figure I have saved a bundle of mullah these fifty years avoiding the CC 12 year Classic, as well as the higher cost Molly Pratt (excuse the spelling)…..I have never trusted the French anyway. So I am glad to see the Manhattan is still well and kicking out there. Although I do get the occasional dumb look on the waiters face when I order it.

Pamela February 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Harley, I love your recipe! I also make my Manhattan’s with rye whiskey (something I have fallen in love with in the past year). And any waiter that gives you that dumb look when you order your Manhattan deserves a swift kick in the rear. While you’re at it…give him one for me too. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your Manhattan recipe.

Scott October 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Yes you might want to do a bit more research into the differences among all the whisk(e)ies available out there….learn the differences in the distillations (collumn vs pot still e.g.) and what goes in the recipe..(ie “mashbill”), and how it varies from region to region, why Whisky from scotland is different from each part of Scotland it comes from, and the differences in barrelling pricedures between american (like bourbon) whiskey and why whisky(<==no "e") from Scotland relies heavily on barrells from elsewhere…all whisk(e)y yes, all the same, no..

Manhattan is the undisputed king of cocktails…

Pamela October 24, 2011 at 12:55 am

Hi Scott,
Yes, there is TONS of information out there on whisk(y)ies out there. I just barely touched upon some of the basics in this post. In the future, I may go in to more detail but for this starter post on Canadian whisky, I just wanted to hit on some of the basics. I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone who might be getting into them for the first time. Sounds like you’re a pro. 🙂 Thanks for the additional info.

Sugel October 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Some insist that a proper Manhattan must be stirred so as to prevent clouding or undue fraternization between the whiskey and the vermouth Esquire says let em mingle. Strain into in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with twist or of course maraschino cherry which is subject to the same challenge re purity as adding an olive to a martini . Replace half the Italian vermouth with French for a so-called Perfect Manhattan. Coming almost full circle if you make your classic 2-to-1 Manhattan with French vermouth instead of Italian and a dash of Amer Picon and one of Maraschino youre in Brooklyn.

bunkycooks October 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

Perfect drink or perfect man…that’s no contest!! Love bourbon and whiskey drinks this time of year. 🙂 I just made Bourbon Bread Pudding…oh, my!

Jessica / Green Skies and Sugar Trips October 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

Finding the perfect man…..near impossible….the perfect drink….now that is completely attainable. Thank you 🙂

mymansbelly October 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi Kerry,
You are correct. That is what I was trying to clarify in the post by explaining some of the other descrpters of whisky. There are lots of people who don’t know that bourbon and scotch are also whisky’s.

Kerry October 7, 2011 at 10:07 am

You might want to do a bit more research on whiskey, it isn’t produced only in Canada (i.e. Jamesons is Irish whiskey). And burbon needs to be made in Kentucky. They can be very different from one another!

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