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With its roots deeply embedded in the heart of NYC, the Manhattan cocktail stands as a symbol of sophistication and a toast to the vibrant spirit of Manhattan. As Crystal Serenity arrives on American shores this autumn, it's the perfect time to savor this quintessential Manhattan recipe, a drink as enduring as the city itself.

Written by


Stella Matthew

Published on 09/20/2023

As we prepare to celebrate Crystal Serenity's arrival in NYC, why not try our signature Manhattan cocktail?
As we prepare to celebrate Crystal Serenity's arrival in NYC, why not try our signature Manhattan cocktail?

Keeping pace with today's leading cocktail bars, the Avenue Saloon aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity excels at putting a creative twist on classic cocktails. This recipe gives a new energy to the traditional Manhattan. Woodford Reserve bourbon serves as the base, accented with Carpano Antica vermouth and an unexpected drop of Cynar, an artichoke-flavored amaro.

The mixture is then rested in medium-toasted American oak wood for two weeks to harmoniously balance the flavors. Oak releases vanillin, the vanilla-tasting compound that softens the strong alcohol flavor to create a more rounded and often more complex taste.

The Classic Manhattan is a cocktail that needs no introduction to the world of mixology. Revered for its timeless elegance and rich history, it has remained a symbol of sophistication and refinement for well over a century. At the heart of a perfect Manhattan lies the marriage of three essential components: high-quality rye whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters.

The origins of this iconic drink can be traced back to the late 19th century, and its creation has been attributed to the Manhattan Club in New York City. While the exact details of its inception remain shrouded in myth and mystery, the Classic Manhattan's reputation as a timeless classic is undisputed.

The base spirit of choice for a Classic Manhattan is rye whiskey, known for its robust character and spicy notes, which provide the perfect canvas for the cocktail's complex flavors. For this twist on the classic drink, our mixologist has substituted the rye for bourbon, which complements the other ingredients impeccably. The drink is then seasoned with a dash of bitters and served chilled.

The next key player in this symphony of flavors is sweet vermouth. We use high-quality Carpano Antica vermouth onboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, as it imparts a sweet and aromatic depth to the Manhattan. Vermouth's herbal and botanical infusion brings balance and complexity, playing off the bourbon's boldness.

Angostura bitters, a crucial element in countless classic cocktails, adds the final touch to a Manhattan. A dash or two of these aromatic bitters provides a subtle spicy kick and a layer of complexity, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the drink. It's the magic ingredient that ties everything together.

Mixing a Classic Manhattan is an art form in itself. To create this masterpiece, our mixologists begin by resting the bourbon (we use Woodford Reserve) in an American Oak container for a minimum of two weeks. Then, when the whiskey has sufficiently taken on the smoky undertones of the cask, we combine it (three ounces per cocktail) with half an ounce of sweet vermouth and three dashes of Angostura bitters into a cocktail shaker. Shake this mixture gently, ensuring that the ingredients harmonize without losing their individual character.

Our Classic Manhattan stands as a testament to the enduring allure of classic cocktails. Its simple yet refined recipe, featuring high-quality bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, has stood the test of time, preserving the elegance and sophistication of a bygone era. Whether enjoyed in its traditional form or as one of the many captivating Manhattan variations, this iconic drink continues to be a symbol of timeless style and taste. Raise your glass to the Classic Manhattan, a cocktail that transcends generations and remains as relevant and delightful as ever.



  • 3 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • ½ ounce Antica Carpano vermouth
  • ½ ounce Cynar amaro
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

GARNISH: 1 Morello cherry


Rest Woodford Reserve bourbon in an American Oak container for a minimum of two weeks. Stir all ingredients in a cocktail and strain into a cocktail glass with a Morello cherry for garnish.