Manhattan Cocktail – Low Carb & Low Sugar

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This Classic Manhattan Cocktail Drink Recipe is low carb, low sugar and is quick, easy and based on the original classic recipe – and only rings in at 1-2 grams of net carbs!  If you like whisky and vermouth, then this cocktail is for you. Rye is the traditional whiskey of choice, however commonly used whiskeys include Canadian whisky, blended whiskey, Tennessee whiskey or bourbon. The choice is up to you.

Manhattan Cocktail - Low Carb & Low Sugar
Manhattan Cocktail – Low Carb & Low Sugar

 The Manhattan Cocktail Drink

The Manhattan cocktail drink is another one of those drinks that has been around for many years (it's thought to have originated in the 1870's) and was again made popular by the popular TV series, Mad Men. As I mentioned in my Gin Gimlet Recipe post, Karlynn and I recently hosted a Mad Men themed party in our vintage home bar.

Side note: You can get an inside look at how the room looks in Karlynn's latest post: How to Throw a Mad Men Party

As part of this party, we created cocktail stations centered around popular characters from the show, Mad Men. This was one of the cocktails I made for the party and it was very popular.

Manhattan Cocktail - Low Carb & Low Sugar
Manhattan Cocktail – Low Carb & Low Sugar

A Great Low Carb Cocktail Choice

The Manhattan cocktail is inherently low carb because it's all hard liquor and rings in at 1 gram of net carbs. Now though, I have to tell you that whisky doesn't calculate but shows that it also is .5 grams of carbs. I would count this as 2 carbs and play it safer. The sweet vermouth is what the calculator catches as carbs that are counted.

The internet is full of low carb recipes for cocktails that use sweeteners – and we are definitely going to delve into those as well! For the Manhattan cocktail however, I prefer to take the hit of 1-2 grams of carbs  to have an ACTUAL Manhattan. Sometimes it's about quality and not quantity and let's face it, we shouldn't be pounding back the cocktails on a regular basis.  Being able to have a real Manhattan cocktail ( the sweet vermouth is what adds the carbs, but it's worth it!) is better than ten sugar-free watery drinks, in my opinion.

Manhattan Cocktail in vintage pheasant glass
Manhattan Cocktail in vintage pheasant glass

How do you make a Manhattan on the rocks?

A non-traditional way to make a Manhattan drink is to make one on the rocks. Simply add your ingredients to a whisky glass, stir and then add ice. It will dilute the drink but some prefer it this way.

What is the difference between a Manhattan and a Rob Roy?

The Manhattan drink is made with rye whiskey ( whisky if it's Canadian) and the Rob Roy cocktail is made with scotch.  One of the staples of the Classic Manhattan cocktail drink recipe is, of course, an easy drinking whisky. Since the show focused heavily on Canadian Club as their whisky of choice, that's what I based this particular Manhattan recipe off of. Canadian Club is a great choice for a few reasons; it's quite inexpensive


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Manhattan Cocktail - Low Carb & Low Sugar

Get the perfect Manhattan Cocktail Drink Recipe, this whisky and vermouth based, sweet drink is great for sipping and is low carb and low sugar! 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
Karami Urbanoski


  • 2 oz Canadian Club whisky or your whisky of choice
  • 1/2 oz vermouth add another .5 ounce to sweeten the drink if desired
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • ice


  • In a Boston shaker, place 3-4 ice cubes.
  • Add 2 oz Canadian Club whisky to the shaker.
  • Add 1/2 or 1 ounce of sweet vermouth to the shaker.
  • Add 1-3 dashes of bitters to the mixture then place the shaker lid on top.
  • Quickly shake the mixture ( make sure that lid is tightly closed!) until the shaker is extremely cold to the touch on the outside.
  • Pour through the ice strainer top of the Boston shaker into a glass, traditionally a coupe but we use our small vintage pheasant glassware.
  • Top with the maraschino cherry and orange peel for garnish.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can skip the cherry garnish if it's too much temptation - it's really just for looks! 
If you want, twist the orange peel OVER your glass to release the oils over the cocktail, this adds a bit of orange flavour.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 157kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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  1. Peter Haas says

    It seems that you’re mostly saying that a Manhattan is low-carb to begin with. That being said, I’ve always made mine 2pts whiskey, 1 pt (Sweet) Vermouth. Is your recipe intended to be a departure from that, or is that just how you make them, anyway?? Thanks!5 stars

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