Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned | Sip On The Two Iconic Cocktails

Choosing the best between Manhattan vs Old Fashioned can be difficult because both of these whiskey-based drinks are traditional and great. Even though they both include whisky, bitters, and a sweetening component, they are very different beverages. 

However, this blog post discusses the history, ingredients, and variants of both drinks. In addition, we give recipes so that you may make your own at home. 

Check out the linked recipe of the two iconic cocktails Manhattan vs old fashioned section for suggestions on what to put down with your drinks! Let’s get started, buddy!

What Is Manhattan Cocktail?

The Manhattan is a classic drink prepared with rye whisky from the United States, sweet mezcal, and bitters. The rye imparts a peppery edge to the cocktail, while the vermouth offers a delicate sweetness and the liqueurs take the edge off. 

As a consequence, you get a basic yet wonderful whiskey-forward drink with profound, if not mysterious, old-school New York City origins.

History Of Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan was created in the mid-1870s as an alternative to the traditional whisky cocktail, at a time when trazodone was extremely popular. Besides, the Manhattan cocktail arose from a drink made with equal parts whisky and vermouth.

Although there is no agreement on how the cocktail as we know it today came to be, the first recorded mention of it goes back to September 1882. Harold’s Sunday Morning Olean, New York Whisky, Vermouth, and Bitter The secret of Manhattan’s exact beginnings in old-time New York is now part of its allure to many drinkers.

Manhattan Cocktail: Making Process

In the blog post of Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, the identical recipe for making a classic Manhattan cocktail is as follows:

  • 2 oz of whiskey (traditionally rye)
  • 1 oz of sweet vermouth 
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters 

Finally, Garnish the cocktail with cherry & optional orange peel.

Taste Of The Manhattan 

A Manhattan is a rye whisky drink with bitter undertones from the vermouth and sweet overtones from the bitter. Rye adds depth of flavor and spice to the drink. Vis a vis, a Manhattan lacks the sweetness of an Old Fashioned, which is made with sugar or simple syrup. 

The inclusion of vermouth adds intricacy to the cocktail that Aud Fashion lacks. The whisky is the star of the competition, giving the Manhattan more flavor than the Old Fashioned, while the vermouth adds alcohol to the mix.

Different Types

On the other hand, the traditional Manhattan is rather basic. It has a sharp flavor for rye, sweet vermouth, and garnish. However, when ordering you can make some appropriate demands. For a smoother flavor with less spice, you could prefer bourbon over rye. 

Moreover, you may also use orange zest for lemon zest to add a little of fruitiness. Instead of a martini or coupe glass, you can prefer a lowball (or old-fashioned) glass with a single ice cube.

Manhattan Cocktail Variations

Aside from the serving suggestions described above, there are several variants of the Manhattan cocktail. The following are some common Manhattan variations:

  • A proper Manhattan combines sweet and dry vermouth in equal amounts.
  • The Revolver is a bourbon-based cocktail containing coffee liqueur, orange bitters, and an orange peel.
  • Rob Roy substitutes Scotch whisky for rye.
  • Instead of sweet vermouth, a Black Manhattan calls for Averna Amaro.
  • The Brandy Manhattan is made using brandy or cognac, sweet red vermouth, and Angostura bitters.

What Is Old Fashioned?

The original cocktail is an Old Fashioned. It’s created with bourbon, bitters, and either simple syrup or blended sugar. Emphatically, this renowned cocktail is often served in a flute named after it, with ice and orange peel garnishes, and occasionally a branded cherry.

History Of Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is regarded as a sweet drink. A basic recipe for a “whisky cocktail” comprising whisky, bitters, sugar, and ice appears in Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Handbook in 1862 as a “whisky cocktail.” 

When bartenders started creating their take on whisky drinks, modifying ingredients, and garnishes, the term “Old Fashioned” was coined. Hence, those seeking an authentic version of the cocktail started ordering it as an “Old Fashioned.”

Old Fashioned: Making Process

In the blog post of Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, the identical recipe for making a traditional Old Fashioned is as follows:

  • 14 oz simple syrup or 1 sugar cube
  • 1 teaspoon water or soda water (if sugar is being added)
  • 3–4 shakes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz. of bourbon

Finally, Garnish with orange zest and 1 cherry (optional).

Taste Of The Old Fashioned

Due to the addition of sugar or simple syrup, the Old Fashioned cocktail is sweeter and less complicated than the Manhattan. Moreover, bitters add a mild bitterness and spice to the cocktail to balance out the alcohol and sweets. 

An Old Fashioned lacks the whiskey-heavy flavor of a Manhattan, making it an excellent choice for individuals who dislike alcoholic flavors. However, when it comes to the taste difference between Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, the Old Fashioned cocktail may seem better to many.

Different Type

When ordering an Old Fashioned, you may make easy modifications such as adding more sugar or simple syrup to make it sweeter, or substituting the sugar with honey. Hence, you may also request orange zest and peel combined with sugar for an additional citrus kick. 

Alternatively, you may prepare a smoky old-fashioned cocktail by smoking the glass using a smoking gun preceding adding the cocktail components.

Old Fashioned Cocktail Variations

There are several delectable variations of this traditional drink to explore. Here are a few of the most common traditional variations:

  • With brandy, lime soda, club soda, and a maraschino cherry garnish, make a Brandy Old Fashioned.
  • An Orange of Blood As a garnish, orange bitters, a splash of fresh orange juice, and a blood orange peel are used in the Old Fashioned.
  • One and a half ounces of whisky and half an ounce of mezcal are combined with agave nectar and a couple of drops of Angostura bitters to make the Oaxacan Old Fashioned.
  • Replace the bourbon with rum and add orange bitters for a rum old-fashioned.
  • Make an Old Fashioned using blended lemons, limes, oranges, and cherries. Orange bitters also work great in this.

Manhattan vs. Old Fashioned

Manhattan Old Fashioned
BASE LIQUORAmerican Rye WhiskeyAmerican Bourbon
SWEETENERSweet VermouthSugar Cube Or Simple Syrup
FLAVOR PROFILELess Sweet, More Spice, More Complex Flavors, And Boozier Than An Old FashionedSweeter And Simpler Than A Manhattan With Less Of A Boozy Flavor
ICENo IceIce Cube
GARNISHGarnished With Cherry(Optional Orange Peel)Garnished Orange Peel(Optional Cherry)
GLASSServed In A Chilled CoupeOf The Martini GlassServed In An Old Fashioned Tumbler

Serving Styles Of Both Cocktail

Old Fashioned vs Manhattans are traditionally served in short, strong glasses, such as a glass for rocks or an Old Fashioned glass. These traditional cocktails (Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned) are typically served over ice, enabling the flavors to mellow and develop gradually as the ice melts.

On the other hand, citrus peel, maraschino fruit, or a mix of the two are common garnishing alternatives. Although the serving technique is identical, certain differences may occur due to personal choice and regional customs.

These Two Cocktails Are Iconic For Cocktail Lovers

The Old Fashioned vs Manhattan have both endured the test of time and are cherished by cocktail connoisseurs all around the world. These legendary beverages are appreciated by various people, from seasoned whisky connoisseurs to casual drinkers looking for a sense of timelessness. 

However, these sophisticated cocktails (Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned) are popular among bartenders, cocktail connoisseurs, and people who value the craft and heritage of traditional cocktails.

Bottom Line

When comparing the Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, it quickly becomes evident that the two cocktails have a lot in common. Naturally, these classic cocktails are usually created with high-quality whisky as the base alcohol. The Old Fashioned and the Manhattan share a basis of traditional spirits, both bitter and sweet. 

In terms of flavor, both cocktails have a deep and nuanced flavor profile. The Old Fashion is noted for its well-balanced blend of whisky, bitters, and plain syrup, which results in a smooth and somewhat sweet cocktail.

F.A.Q Section

1. What is Manhattan Cocktail?

The Manhattan is a classic drink prepared with rye whisky from the United States, sweet mezcal, and bitters. The rye imparts a peppery edge to the cocktail, while the vermouth offers a delicate sweetness and the liqueurs take the edge off. 

2. When was the Manhattan cocktail first created?

The Manhattan was created in the mid-1870s as an alternative to the traditional whisky cocktail, at a time when trazodone was extremely popular. Besides, the Manhattan cocktail arose from a drink made with equal parts whisky and vermouth.

3. What is needed to make a Manhattan cocktail?

A Manhattan cocktail requires 2 oz of whiskey (traditionally rye), 1 oz of sweet vermouth, 2-3 dashes of bitters and a cherry (optional orange peel) for garnish.

4. How does Manhattan taste?

Due to the addition of sugar or simple syrup, the Old Fashioned cocktail is sweeter and less complicated than the Manhattan. Moreover, bitters add mild bitterness and spice to the cocktail to balance out the alcohol and sweets. 

5. What is Old Fashioned?

The original cocktail is an Old Fashioned. It’s created with bourbon, bitters, and either simple syrup or blended sugar. Emphatically, this renowned cocktail is often served in a flute named after it, with ice and orange peel garnishes, and occasionally a branded cherry.

6. How did the name Old Fashioned come about?

Jerry Thomas’ Bartender started creating their take on whisky drinks, modifying ingredients, and garnishes, the term “Old Fashioned” was coined. Hence, those seeking an authentic version of the cocktail started ordering it as an “Old Fashioned.”

7. What is needed to make an Old Fashioned cocktail?

To make Old Fashioned cocktail 14 oz simple syrup or 1 sugar cube, 1 teaspoon water or soda water (if sugar is being added), 3–4 shakes Angostura bitters, 2 oz. of bourbon and orange zest (cherry is optional) is required for garnish.

8. How does Old Fashioned taste?

Due to the addition of sugar or simple syrup, the Old Fashioned cocktail is sweeter and less complicated than the Manhattan. Moreover, bitters add a mild bitterness and spice to the cocktail to balance out the alcohol and sweets. 

9. Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, which one is more tasty to drink?

In the Manhattan vs Old Fashioned debate, Manhattan is a strong drink with a boozy flavor. On the other hand, Old Fashioned is a sweet drink. However, when it comes to the taste difference between Manhattan Vs Old Fashioned, the Old Fashioned cocktail may seem better to many.

10. Is Manhattan sweeter than Old Fashioned?

A Manhattan tastes slightly winey thanks to the presence of vermouth and is relatively bitter. On the other hand, an Old Fashioned is slightly sweeter, although bitterness still plays a major role.

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