Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

This perfect brandy manhattan screams fall cocktail, along with my peanut butter whiskey manhattan and a bourbon and cider recipe I’ve been working on. They’re mellow and warming as the nights grow colder and darker.

What’s the difference between a regular manhattan, a dry manhattan, and a perfect manhattan?

  • The classic manhattan is 2 ounces of rye or bourbon whiskey and 1 ounce of sweet vermouth.
  • A “dry” manhattan replaces the sweet vermouth with 1 ounce of dry vermouth.
  • A “perfect” manhattan is in between with 1/2 ounce of sweet and 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth.

It may not be “perfect” for everyone, but it’s pretty darn good!

Because brandy is typically sweeter than whiskey, I decided to make versions of each of these three cocktails to see which I preferred. If you have the chance, I would encourage you to do the same and compare.

From left to right are the dry, the perfect brandy manhattan, and the classic. They appear different because of the sweet vermouth, which is a red-brown color.

three one-ounce glasses filled with brandy manhattans of different colors

FAQs about this perfect brandy manhattan recipe

What’s the difference between a manhattan vs. old fashioned?

In an old fashioned, the whiskey or brandy is sweetened with sugar or a sugar syrup. In the classic manhattan, the sugar is replaced by sweet vermouth.

What is the difference between brandy vs. whiskey?

Whiskey is made from fermented grains. Brandy is a distilled liquor made from grapes or other fruit such as apples (e.g. Calvados) or cherries. Armagnac, grappa, and pisco are all brandies.

What is the difference between Cognac vs. brandy?

Cognac is a brandy made from a selection of specific grape varietals in Charente and Charente-Maritime in France. Like with champagne, a brandy can only be called Cognac if it is made in this specific region.

How is brandy categorized?

Brandy classification varies based on how long it has been aged. It’s unfortunately a bit complicated as the classification differs for different kinds of brandies.

What other cocktails are made with brandy?

The sidecar and the Brandy Alexander are two of the most popular.

Why is this two servings?

Our good friends at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism inform us that a standard drink for distilled spirits is 1.5 ounces.

a brandy manhattan in a coupe glass garnished with two maraschino cherries

Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Author uglyducklingbakery


  • 2 ounces brandy
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry for garnish


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the brandy, vermouth, and bitters and stir for 20 to 30 seconds.
    2 ounces brandy, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with the maraschino cherry.
    maraschino cherry


  • For a classic brandy manhattan, omit the dry vermouth and use one full ounce of sweet vermouth.

What’s next?

If you make this perfect brandy manhattan recipe, please leave a comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Check out other uglyducklingbakery beverages like the gin espresso martini, a cherry bakewell cocktail, or the “Lady Bridgerton” – an Earl Grey and lavender Empress gin cocktail.

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