What's The Best Type Of Glass For A Manhattan?

A Manhattan cocktail is a deceptively simple one. Consisting of only three ingredients; whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, it has been a mainstay of every mixologist's repertoire almost since its inception sometime in the 1880s (via Cocktail Society). The classic recipe for a Manhattan calls for using bourbon or rye whiskey and sweet vermouth, but as MasterClass notes, there are now many variations of the drink served, with some even opting for rum over whiskey and the herbal wine Averna amaro replacing the vermouth.

That's the beauty and the beast of a Manhattan. With so many possible combinations of ingredients available, bartenders can easily create their own unique versions of the cocktail. As a consumer, though, it can be difficult to know precisely what you will be getting when you order one away from your usual recipe.

Thankfully, a Manhattan is one of those beautiful drinks that you almost have to try to mess up. Regardless of the spin the bartender may choose to put on the drink, you can be reasonably sure that it will be superbly drinkable. 

The mystery of the Manhattan cocktail glass

Beyond the variety of whiskeys, vermouths, and bitters that bartenders have at their disposal, there is one other factor that can make choosing a glass for a Manhattan a bit of a challenge. That is, unlike most drinks, they don't have a definite style. A daiquiri is a daiquiri and, regardless of the exact recipe, typically goes properly in a daiquiri glass.

Manhattans don't fit into a defined mold. You can serve them much as you would any straight whiskies because some people prefer their Manhattans neat. Other folks like a Manhattan on the rocks and, of course, many prefer the classic Manhattan Martini. It's chilled but served sans ice.

The point is there is no wrong way to serve a Manhattan, and this makes it difficult to define what the definitive Manhattan glass should be. You naturally wouldn't put a Manhattan on the rocks in a martini glass. Nor would it be right to serve any of the above in a highball glass, but different styles call for different glasses. 

However, an experiment detailed in the YouTube channel "A Bar Above" claims that a classic, stirred Manhattan tastes "nice, spicy, sweet" in a martini glass, but in the alternate glass, the drink tastes much more bitter. This is certainly interesting, yet we still think how you take a Manhattan is a personal choice.

The ideal Manhattan glass

There are almost as many opinions of what cocktail glass you should use for a Manhattan as there are recipes. Many upper-class establishments serve them in martini glasses. This piece of barware is easy to drink from and certainly looks elegant, but due to its delicate stem, it has a tendency to tip easily. They work well at cocktail parties where you will hold your drink in hand all night and aren't likely to get bumped.

The good folks at Liquor.com favor a champagne coupe for Manhattans. They are every bit as smart as a martini glass but less likely to have you spilling your drink. Then again, reading from Lock-7, we find lowball or rocks glasses listed as the ideal barware for Manhattan cocktails. Today, there are even specially designed Manhattan glasses on the market that look like overgrown shot/martini glasses (per Robb Report).

To be honest, when discussing cocktails, what goes in the glass is more important than the shape of the glass itself. Brandies, cognac, wine, and even some beers can benefit from glassware of specific shapes, but Manhattans are so versatile, the glass depends more on the style you prefer and your personal taste.