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Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

This perfect brandy manhattan recipe is a variation of one the most classic cocktails. Use brandy with both sweet and dry vermouths for a “perfect” brandy cocktail.

There are few rights and wrongs when it comes to what you like in food and drink. You might like a traditional manhattan. You might like it dry, like in this peanut butter whiskey manhattan.

Or, once you know how to make a manhattan, you might just love this perfect brandy manhattan.

a brandy manhattan garnished with two maraschino cherries.

Key Ingredient: Brandy

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.

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.

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

Key Technique: The Manhattan

  • The classic manhattan has 2 ounces of rye or bourbon whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. It’s garnished with a maraschino cherry.
  • A “dry” manhattan replaces the sweet vermouth with 1 ounce of dry vermouth.
  • A “perfect” manhattan is in between with a half ounce of sweet and a half ounce of dry vermouth.

Tips and Tricks

Do a taste test

The pic below shows, from left to right, the dry, the perfect brandy manhattan, and the classic. They are different colors because the sweet vermouth is a red-brown color. Because brandy is typically sweeter than whiskey, I would encourage you to do the same brandy manhattan taste test.

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

Shaken or stirred

The manhattan is traditionally stirred. The general rule of thumb is that cocktails with juices should be shaken, and cocktails that are all alcohol should be stirred with ice.

To make your manhattan, fill a cocktail shaker with about a half cup of ice. Add the brandy, vermouth, and Angostura bitters and stir for about 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with a maraschino or Luxardo cherry.

FAQs

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

An old fashioned has sugar or a simple syrup as a sweetener. In the classic manhattan, sweet vermouth replaces the sugar.

What other cocktails are made with brandy?

If you’re a brandy lover, the sidecar and the Brandy Alexander are two of the most popular brandy cocktails.

Why is this two servings?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that a standard drink for distilled spirits is 1.5 ounces.

a perfect brandy manhattan garnished with a luxardo cherry.

Related recipes

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

Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Category: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 83kcal
Equal amounts of sweet vermouth and dry vermouth make this brandy manhattan recipe a "perfect" variation of a classic cocktail.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the brandy, vermouth, and bitters and stir for 20 to 30 seconds.
    2 ounces brandy, ½ ounce dry vermouth, ½ ounce sweet vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Strain into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with the maraschino cherry.
    maraschino cherry

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
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