The Manhattan Project

Manhattan cocktail

The secret double life of a classic cocktail is revealed and it’s the bomb!

Traditionalists insist that a Manhattan is made with American rye whiskey. But we know there is more to this story because in Louisville we make Manhattans with Bourbon or Canadian whisky. Because the Manhattan has so many variations, we often ask bartenders to make us their creative version of this classic cocktail. Delicious!

Our Manhattan Project tries to get to the bottom of the glass on this bourbon vs. rye debate. Challenge accepted! We decided to do a little taste test with the whiskeys we have in our liquor cabinet at the Whisky Chicks Loft.

Traditionalists really like rye whiskey in their Manhattans, but the bourbon trend is undeniable. We pulled one of each – Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and followed the recipe below. The verdict? To us, the rye whiskey came across a little sweeter and had a tiny bite. The bourbon cocktail was very smooth and balanced. Blast! Both are delicious, so we are winning either way.

Based on our little Manhattan Project test we found that if you like a slightly sweeter cocktail, go for a rye. If you like a more balanced whisky cocktail, go for bourbon.


2 oz Rye Whiskey or Bourbon

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters

Garnish: Luxardo Cherry


Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass or serve on the rocks in a glass with fresh ice and garnish with a Luxardo Cherry.



Manhattan recipe card