Manhattan vs Old Fashioned –
What’s the difference?
GRACING COCKTAIL MENUS FOR DECADES, THE OLD FASHIONED AND MANHATTAN ARE TIMELESS CLASSICS THAT ARE HERE TO STAY.
And for good reason. With simple ingredient lists, but complex flavour profiles, these refined cocktails have been the drink of choice across the globe since the 1800s. With both placing whisky as the hero ingredient, they are the ultimate choice for those wanting their cocktails with layers of flavour.
But while the Old Fashioned and Manhattan may share some common elements, each one boasts its unique flair. So it’s time to explore the Manhattan vs the Old Fashioned and unlock what’s the difference.
What is a Manhattan Drink?
With roots dating back to the 1880s, this timeless classic is said to have originated in a Manhattan Club. A classic cocktail that embodies the spirit of New York City, it’s a concoction of whisky, sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of aromatic bitters. The result? A drink that’s as bold and confident as the city it’s named after. Traditionally made with rye or bourbon, the Chivas take on the Manhattan swaps these out for a blended Scotch whisky – giving a richer and fruitier flavour to this short and strong classic.
What sets the Manhattan apart is its versatility. Tweak the ratios to suit your taste buds – prefer it on the sweeter side? Add a bit more vermouth. Want a stronger kick? Amp up the whisky. Garnish it with a maraschino cherry and you’ve got a cocktail that’s ready to take on the night.
What is an Old Fashioned?
This is a cocktail that pays homage to the roots of mixology. A simple yet refined blend of whisky, sugar, bitters, and orange, this iconic cocktail is a must-have addition for any whisky connoisseur. With roots dating back to the earliest days of cocktails, the Old Fashioned is said to have originated in the 1800s in Kentucky. And while it’s endured countless variations since then, its four key components have stood the test of time.
Short and strong in style, an Old Fashioned puts the whisky centre stage. And where it’s understated in the number of ingredients, it makes up in depth of flavour – the Chivas 18’s 85 tasting notes add a fitting complexity to this cocktail menu staple.
Manhattan vs. Old Fashioned – Key Differences
So what are the key differences between a Manhattan vs. an Old Fashioned? Both cocktails call for whisky and Angostura bitters, but the defining factor lies in their sweetening agents. The Old Fashioned opts for straightforward sugar or syrup, helping to soften the whisky. In contrast the Manhattan favours a sweet vermouth – adding fruity and caramel flavours into the mix.
A statement of each cocktail’s unique character are the glasses they’re served in. Where a Manhattan is traditionally served in a martini style glass, an Old Fashioned is best served in a rocks glass.
EXTRA MANHATTAN RECIPE
25ml sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Cherry, to garnish
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass and stir with ice. Continue adding ice until it’s densely packed. While stirring, ensure to stop once the exterior of the glass feels cold to avoid over-dilution of the drink. Garnish the drink with a cherry and serve.
OLD FASHIONED RECIPE
2 dashes Angostura bitters
5ml sugar syrup
Orange zest to garnish
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass, then stir with ice for about 20 seconds. Afterward, strain the mixture into a rocks glass containing a substantial block of ice. Finish off by garnishing with a twist of orange zest before serving.
OLD FASHIONED COCKTAIL VARIATIONS
While the Old Fashioned and Manhattan cocktails might have earned their stripes as timeless favourites, there are inventive twists on these sure-fire crowd pleasers. So if you’re looking for a fruitier take or you’re eager to flex your mixology muscles, then test out your skills with these Old Fashioned variations.
HONEY OLD FASHIONED
For those looking for a richer and more in depth flavour profile than the standard Old Fashioned, then the Honey Old Fashioned should be your go-to. Adding a touch more sweetness to the short and strong cocktail, this is a variation that’s straightforward while packing a flavour punch.
FOREST FRUIT OLD FASHIONED
An approachable cocktail for Old Fashioned beginners, the Forest Fruit Old Fashioned is the ideal gateway for those looking for a fruitier take on a short and strong drink.
True to the roots of the original Old Fashioned recipe, this whisky cocktail maintains the short and robust profile but opts for blackberry syrup instead of the conventional simple sugar syrup, delivering a richer, fruitier flavour.
CITRUS OLD FASHIONED
This citrus spin ups the ante on a classic Old Fashioned – ideal for those looking for a lighter approach to this mixologists favourite.
In this rendition of the Old Fashioned, we introduce Lillet Blanc and swap out the traditional Angostura bitters for orange bitters – creating a bolder flavour profile.