Best Bourbon For Manhattan

While many people might say a Manhattan cocktail can only be made with Rye Whiskey, some agree that you can spice things up a little bit and use bourbon for your cocktail. A different twist on the old classic drink and a good way to enjoy a sweeter drink while trying out a new recipe. The history of the Manhattan cocktail dates all the way back to 1880s, at the time, the drink was known as a Turf club cocktail or a jockey club cocktail and later on became to be known as The Manhattan. Today, the Manhattan is one of the best known and most indulged on drinks out there.

The taste differs with the different type of alcohol used in it but overall, it is supposed to have a strong, smoky taste. The reason why you should try bourbon in your Manhattan is to see how sweet it actually could be. A Manhattan has a couple of different special tips you should follow along while making it such as to never, ever to shake the drink and only to stir it while mixing it. The cocktail will foam and lose its original taste if it is shaken.

You can also choose to have your cocktail neat or on the rocks. On the rocks is a term we all know, it means with ice. However, if you are having your drink with ice, remember the fact that ice melts and will cause your drink to be diluted.  If you are going to try bourbon in your Manhattan, we have researched and found the 6 best Bourbons for Manhattan. Depending on your personal taste preferences, some of these might make the old classic your new favorite.

Knobb Creek

Knobb Creek is the kind of bourbon that will give your Manhattan a richer taste. So unapologetically full – flavored, this bourbon is one of our favorites. It is definitely robust and a little woody while keeping it beautifully sweet. You will notice some hints of maple, which goes incredibly well with the woodiness of it, and also some hints of caramel that helps the flavor of it all.

Old Forester

Classic Kentucky bourbon, Old Forester was the first bourbon that was bottled and sold in Kentucky due to its high popularity amongst the locals. This bourbon is more bright and balanced and will make your Manhattan a little easier on the mouth feels. It has to be one of the best bourbons out there to be mixed with other things to make a cocktail but it is also good to drink it neat. While it is bright and mixable, it is also sweet and powerful enough to make you feel boozy.


Many recipes for other bourbon brands might stay the same throughout the years and through the new batches but Brooke’s is different. With Brooke’s Bourbon, every batch has a different, unique taste and a recipe. What never changes is the quality of the drink, the deliciousness of every single batch and the strength that is sure to get you hooked on the bourbon as much as the booziness of it. The brand makes the bourbon unfiltered and strong to keep their customer base happy and while the taste is not the same, they are very reliable when it comes to it being good, intense and interesting. Grabbing a bottle might not be as easy as you think, due to the high demand to taste the new batches the brand is only available at high-end alcohol retailers, though it will be worth the hunt.

Jim Beam Black

This is an old classic bourbon. To make one of the best Manhattans you might want to give this classic a try. It is perfectly delicious to drink neat but when mixed into cocktails, it makes the drink have a fuller body. You will get notes of oak and caramel with Jim Beam Black. The taste is, without a doubt, mesmerizing and will be a great addition to your cocktail.

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is the bourbon you want if you want a smoother Manhattan. One of the best classics, this bourbon has notes of cocoa that will give you the best mouthfeels, cinnamon to add spice and sweetness to it and toffee that just makes every drink (and everything) better. This rich bourbon also has a bright citrus twist to liven up the party. One of the most reliable bourbons out there when it comes to taste and richness, Woodford Reserve will surely make your Manhattan richer and smoother than most whiskeys.

Big House Bourbon

If you feel like your Manhattan needs to be a little bit spicier but still a little on the sweeter side, Big House Bourbon is the one you will want to go with. This brand makes one of the biggest fan favorites when it comes to bourbon for a Manhattan. It adds a delicious spicy flavor to the cocktail, making things a little bit more festive.

These are some of the best bourbons for Manhattan. The classic drink has many different recipes and ingredients but we wanted to share a classic Manhattan recipe that you can mix with your favorite bourbon of choice. Just remember never to shake the mix. Just stir…

The Manhattan Cocktail Recipe


  • 2 fluid ounces of the bourbon of your preference
  • A ½ fluid ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 1 Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1 maraschino cherry

How to;

  • Combine bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail mixing class
  • Add the ice and stir until the drink is chilled
  • Strain into a cool cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry
  • Optional Add ice

Give these bourbons a try and see which one you like the best for a Manhattan cocktail. While the classics are called the classics for a reason, there is nothing bad in trying something new and exciting once in a while. If you are a big fan of bourbon or Manhattans, you can definitely try the cocktail out with more than one of these brands. Some might not be readily available at your nearest store but a little bottle hunting never hurt anyone.