10 Differences Between old fashioned and manhattan

Old Fashioned vs Manhattan

Old Fashioned vs Manhattan: Exploring the Differences

Do you enjoy sipping cocktails and exploring different flavors? If so, you may have come across two classic whiskey-based drinks; the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. While both are delicious and popular, they do have some distinct differences. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics, recipes, and uses of these two iconic cocktails. So, grab a drink and let’s uncover the variations between the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.

What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that originated in the early 19th century. Considered one of the oldest classic cocktails, it is made by muddling sugar with bitters, then adding whiskey and a twist of citrus zest. Traditionally, it is served in a short glass with a large ice cube.

Examples of Old Fashioned variations:

  • Traditional Old Fashioned: Made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, angostura bitters, and a citrus twist.
  • Maple Old Fashioned: Replacing simple syrup with maple syrup for a rich and earthy flavor.
  • Smoky Old Fashioned: Adding a smoky twist by using a smoky whiskey or adding a few dashes of peaty scotch.

What is a Manhattan?

The Manhattan is another classic cocktail with its origins dating back to the late 19th century. It consists of rye or bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, and a dash of bitters. This cocktail is typically stirred in a mixing glass and served strained into a Martini glass, garnished with a cherry.

Examples of Manhattan variations:

  • Classic Manhattan: Made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and aromatic bitters.
  • Bourbon Manhattan: Using bourbon whiskey instead of rye, which gives a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Perfect Manhattan: Combining equal parts sweet vermouth and dry vermouth, with whiskey.

Differences between Old Fashioned and Manhattan:

Difference Area Old Fashioned Manhattan
Origin Early 19th century Late 19th century
Sweetness Less sweet Relatively sweeter
Primary Ingredients Rye or bourbon whiskey, sugar, bitters, citrus zest Rye or bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters
Glassware Short glass Martini glass
Serving Style On the rocks Strained
Garnish Citrus twist Cherry
Served With Large ice cube
Common Variations Maple Old Fashioned, Smoky Old Fashioned Bourbon Manhattan, Perfect Manhattan
Taste Profile Strong, robust flavors of whiskey Well-balanced, with sweetness from vermouth
Preferred Whiskey Type Bourbon or rye Rye (traditional), but bourbon can be used


In summary, the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan are both classic whiskey-based cocktails that have stood the test of time. However, they have distinctive differences in terms of origin, sweetness, ingredients, glassware, serving style, garnish, and taste profile. The Old Fashioned leans towards a stronger whiskey flavor, whereas the Manhattan offers a more balanced sweetness due to the addition of vermouth. Each drink has its unique characteristics, making them a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts looking to savor different flavors.

People Also Ask:

1. Which cocktail is stronger – Old Fashioned or Manhattan?

The Old Fashioned is generally considered stronger due to its higher concentration of whiskey and absence of vermouth.

2. Can I use bourbon in a Manhattan?

Yes, bourbons can be used in a Manhattan, providing a slightly sweeter taste compared to using rye whiskey.

3. Can I muddle fruit in a Manhattan?

Muddling fruit is not a common practice in a Manhattan. However, you can experiment with variations and add fruits that complement the flavors.

4. Can I make an Old Fashioned with scotch?

While it goes against tradition, you can substitute whiskey in an Old Fashioned with scotch to create a smoky and unique variation.

5. Are these cocktails suitable for beginners?

Both the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan are considered classic cocktails and can be enjoyed by beginners. However, taste preferences may vary, so it’s always a good idea to try a sip before committing to a full glass.

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