What makes a cocktail a classic that endures for decades, as opposed to a trend that flames out after one hot season? Balance.

It’s hard to describe, this balance thing, but it comes down to a relationship among ingredients that creates a unified delicious whole instead of an assemblage of stuff that happens to occupy the same glass.

In a manhattan — indisputably a classic cocktail — you want the vermouth to mellow the rye or bourbon, just a little, and you want the bitters to tie together the rye’s peppery notes and the savory herbs in the vermouth. You want a cocktail that’s better than straight whiskey in a way that’s hard to pin down but unmistakable in quality and flavor.

Cocktail lovers know it when they taste it — you know you do — and there’s no hiding a poorly balanced recipe. That’s why, when we set about creating Manhattan Proof Syrup, we kept our eyes and taste buds trained on balance. We think we nailed it, and we think you’ll agree. (We know a few folks won’t, and that’s the beautiful thing about taste: no accounting for it.)

Go ahead and try this syrup with your favorite whiskey — whether that’s rye or bourbon — but experiment a little, too. You might discover that this syrup’s an equally great fit for a spicier or smoother spirit than you’d normally enjoy. We love discoveries like that, and we hope you do too.

Pro tip: Use an honest-to-goodness gourmet cocktail cherry in every manhattan you mix. Yes, you’ll pay more, and you might have to go to a little trouble to get them (ordering-from-Amazon trouble, not slaying-a-dragon trouble), but they’re 100% worth it. As it happens, a while back we ordered up a lot of gourmet cherries and tested them in a whole bunch of cocktails and wrote about it, so you wouldn’t have to. You’re welcome, and cheers.


  • 2 oz Rye or Bourbon
  • 1 oz Manhattan Proof Syrup
  • Luxardo Cherry to Garnish


Bar Spoon
Mixing Glass
Coupe Glass


  1. Measure Proof Syrup and rye/bourbon into mixing glass; add ice and stir until well chilled and combined.
  2. Strain into chilled coupe glass; garnish and serve.