Knowing how to make classic cocktails is about learning a few, simple, recipes that taste complex enough to appeal to sophisticated drinkers.
This classic Manhattan only requires whiskey, sweet red vermouth, and Angostura bitters. As with most things this simple its worth getting high quality on all three for the best possible experience.
You can either mix cocktails on demand or pre-batch them. Pre-batching is preferable, if you have freezer space, for a superior, ice cold, cocktail. If you lack the time, or the freezer space, you will just need to stir the cocktail with ice until the drink is similarly chilled. Even if you don’t pre-batch you can throw glasses in the freezer so your cocktail doesn’t heat up too quickly.
For the whiskey, rye or bourbon will do. Bourbon is sweeter than rye and so the balance of the cocktail overall will change depending on your selection.
1 part whiskey, rye or bourbon
1/2 part sweet red vermouth
1/2 part water or ice, use water if you are pre-batching
2 shakes Angostura bitters
For pre-batching, mix the whiskey, red vermouth, bitters, and water in a carafe and cover before placing into the freezer, ideally for several hours or more. Or, add the whiskey, red vermouth and bitters into a cocktail shaker and add a handful of ice, stirring together with a spoon. Pour the ice cold cocktail into a glass, with a strainer if using ice, and add a cherry to garnish. You can use either homemade sour cherries or another kind of store bought cocktail cherry.