A Full Guide on the Best Bourbon for Manhattan

There are those who believe that a Manhattan can only be created with a rye whiskey, but that is not true. There are a wide range of bourbons that are perfect for creating a great manhattan. While the original cocktail was made to be a bit on the spicy side, many feel that it is better when made with bourbon so that it is slightly sweet. So, ignore all of the haters and enjoy sipping your manhattan made with bourbon.

We highly recommend Woodford Reserve as this is our personal favorite bourbon to drink as a manhattan, but don’t worry if you are not a fan as we are going to give you a selection of different options that we liked as well.

A Look at Our Top Pick – Woodford Reserve


Image result for woodford reserve


Woodford Reserve is the best bourbon for creating the perfect manhattan. One of the things that people really enjoy is that bourbon is that it is reliable. The flavor notes of Woodford Reserve offer rich cocoa, spicy cinnamon, and buttery toffee notes. It is a well-rounded bourbon that is rich and delicious. You will be able to get the smoothest manhattan when you use Woodford Reserve.

About Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

One of the things that is amazing about Woodford Reserve is where it is located. It is located in the bluegrass area where you are able to live among the rolling hills. The Woodford Reserve Distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky. In fact, the property where the distillery sits in the same site where Elijah Pepper started distilling whiskey in 1812.

After Elijah Pepper, James Christopher Crow, who was a Master Distiller, perfected whiskey making techniques. Many of the techniques that he developed are still used today. One of these is that he started adding sour mash into the fermentation process. Today, the distillery has a 500-foot long gravity-fed barrel run, copper pot stills, and a 100-year-old cypress wood fermenters. Plus, they use a heat-cycled barrelhouse. This is uncommon and Woodford Reserve is literally one of a handful in the entire world. This process is part of what offers the rich flavor and color of Woodford Reserve.


If you are interested, you can tour the Woodford Reserve Distillery. The tour allows you to take in the beauty of the area along with seeing the actual distilling process. The tour teaches you everything that you need to know about the uniqueness of Woodford Reserve.


Woodford Reserve also hosts a number of events each year on their property. This allows you to have a good time and enjoy a special event while also enjoying the beauty of the property and the delicious flavors that Woodford Reserve has to offer.

Pros of Woodford Reserve

  • Woodford Reserve has won a number of awards.
  • The bourbon is creamy and smooth.
  • Woodford Reserve is perfect for both sipping on the rocks and mixing with cocktails.

Cons of Woodford Reserve

  • We wished that the finish of Woodford Reserve would last longer.
  • Many find the taste to be very strong and more sensitive palates cannot handle the strength.

A Look at Our Runner Up – Jim Beam Black Bourbon

jim beam black

Jim Beam Black Bourbon is the runner up for us. This bourbon is very affordable and very high quality. It is one of those liquors where the price and the quality are simply not in line with one another. It is a great bourbon for sipping neat or for using in a cocktail, like a manhattan.

This bourbon is aged for years longer than the original Jim Beam which offers it a smoother flavor that is extra full body. There are tastes of creamy and sweet caramel and richness from the oak. This is another bourbon that is capable of making a delicious manhattan.

About Jim Beam