Manhattan vs Old Fashioned: What’s the Difference?

If you’re a fan of classic cocktails, you’ve probably encountered the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned. These two iconic drinks have stood the test of time, each with its unique charm and flavor profile.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of mixology to explore the key differences between Manhattan and the Old Fashioned.


Cocktails hold a special place in the world of beverages, and two names that often come up in conversations about classic cocktails are Manhattan and Old Fashioned. Both drinks have a rich history and a dedicated following, but what sets them apart? Let’s take a closer look.

The Manhattan: A Classic Elegance

The Manhattan, a sophisticated concoction dating back to the 19th century, brings together the smooth notes of whiskey, the subtle sweetness of vermouth, and the complexity of bitters. It’s typically garnished with a cherry, exuding a sense of refinement that’s hard to match.

The Old Fashioned: A Nod to Tradition

On the other hand, the Old Fashioned harks back to a simpler time, often considered one of the oldest known cocktails. It’s a blend of whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus rind. Served over ice in a lowball glass, this drink is a celebration of timeless flavors.

Manhattan vs. Old Fashioned Ingredient List:

Certainly! Here are the ingredient lists for both the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned cocktails:


  • 2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Maraschino cherry or orange twist, for garnish

Old Fashioned:

  • 2 oz whiskey (rye or bourbon)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • A few dashes of plain water
  • Ice
  • Orange twist and/or cherry, for garnish

Manhattan vs Old Fashioned: What's the Difference?

How You Served Manhattan & Old Fashioned:

  1. Muddle the sugar cube and bitters together to dissolve the sugar.
  2. If desired, you can add a splash of club soda to slightly dilute the drink.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Manhattan vs. Old Fashioned: Which One Should You Try First?

Both cocktails have their merits, so why not try both and decide for yourself? Start with the Manhattan to experience a symphony of flavors, then move on to the Old Fashioned to savor the essence of timeless whiskey craftsmanship. You can also read about Spend 4 days in Nashville.

Final Thoughts: 

The Manhattan and the Old Fashioned shine as symbols of tradition, craftsmanship, and flavor. Whether you’re drawn to Manhattan’s refined elegance or the Old Fashions’s rustic charm, both drinks offer a journey through time with every sip.


A. A Manhattan and an Old Fashioned are both classic cocktails, but they have distinct ingredients and preparation methods, resulting in different flavors and experiences.

Q. What is a Perfect Manhattan vs a regular?

A. A Perfect Manhattan is a variation of the classic Manhattan cocktail, with a slight twist in its ingredients. Here’s the difference between a Perfect Manhattan and a regular Manhattan:

Q. What does Manhattan taste like?

A. Manhattan refers to the classic cocktail rather than the borough of New York City. A Manhattan cocktail is typically made with whiskey (usually rye), sweet vermouth, and bitters, garnished with a cherry.

Q. Is Manhattan a sophisticated drink?

A. Yes, the Manhattan cocktail is often considered a sophisticated drink. Its rich history, complex flavor profile, and association with classic cocktail culture.

Q. Is bourbon or whiskey better in Manhattan?

A. Both bourbon and rye whiskey are commonly used in Manhattans, and the choice between the two depends on personal preference and the flavor profile you’re aiming for.

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