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6 Best Rye Whiskeys for a Manhattan

Best Rye Whiskeys

If you’re looking to make a perfect Manhattan, you’ll need to start with a high-quality rye whiskey. There are many excellent options on the market, but it is important to find a rye that has its own unique flavor profile and is complex enough to stand up to the sweet vermouth in a Manhattan. If you’re looking for a good pick, check out this list of the best rye whiskeys for a Manhattan.

All of these ryes are relatively affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to make a great cocktail.

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey

Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey’s 101-proof rye whiskey is a solid choice for making a Manhattan since it brings both quality and value. The high proof means that it can balance out the sweet vermouth, and the rye spice is well placed. Altogether, the flavor is complex enough to hold its own.

Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey is also widely available, so you can pick it up it at most liquor stores. Find it for $32 at ReserveBar.

Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey

Best Rye Whiskeys

There are many ryes that would work well in a Manhattan, but Woodford Reserve is a great option. It is soft and sweet with plenty of oak, and at 45.2% ABV, it is proofed just right for a cocktail. Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey presents plenty of sweetness along with rye spice to balance out the bitters in a Manhattan.

This rye uses a pre-prohibition style ratio of 53% rye in its mash bill to pay homage to history’s original rye whiskeys, making spice and tobacco the dominant note among a sea of fruit, floral and sweet aromatics, which yields a nice sweetness and overall balance. Find Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey for $43 at ReserveBar.

WhistlePig 10-Year Rye


There’s no shame in using premium rye for a cocktail. After all, the better the ingredients used, the better the cocktail will be. Made with 100% rye, this will really bring the spice for those who love a Manhattan that pulls no punches.

The 10-year age designation means that it has been aged for at least 10 years, which gives it a smooth, mellow flavor perfect for sipping. However, being the premium whiskey it is, it does come with a higher price tag. We can tell you one thing though: It will be worth it. Find WhistlePig 10-Year Rye for $88 at ReserveBar.

Bulleit Rye


Bulleit Rye is a budget-friendly option that is also a favorite among bartenders. It has a high proof and a bold flavor that make it ideal for cocktails. The flavor of Bulleit rye is perfect for cocktails, and it mixes well with other liquors. Bulleit is easy to pick up at the store if payday is still a ways away. It can be found for about $30 at your local retailers, or if you don’t want to leave the house, you can order it for $41 at ReserveBar and use SIPSPIRITS for free shipping.

Sazerac Rye

Best Rye Whiskeys

With a barely legal rye content, Sazerac walks the line between bourbon and rye as much as possible. It’s inexpensive and has just the right amount of spice and sweetness to make a perfect Manhattan.

Aged for a minimum of six years, this whiskey earned a score of 95 points from Wine Enthusiast, which called it a “Best Buy.” It has an aroma of rye, malt, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, with notes of chewy caramel, vanilla, spicy rye and candied citrus on the palate. It ends with a touch of dried fruits and rye. Find Sazerac Rye for $34 at ReserveBar.

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

Best Rye Whiskeys

When it comes to rye whiskey, Knob Creek is a name that always comes up. Hailing from Kentucky, this distillery is known for its high-quality bourbon releases, particularly the Single Barrel Reserve.

However, its 50%-ABV rye whiskey is often overlooked and is a sleeper on the shelf. Delivering a more herbal, pepper-forward profile, it’s perfect for the boldest Manhattan in town. In fact, this renowned rye won “Best Rye Worldwide Whiskey” at the 2016 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Tasting notes describe expansive notes of herbs and rye with nuances of oak on the nose. The palate is bold with rye spice and undertones of vanilla and oak, while the finish is warm and smooth with spice throughout. If you’re looking for a high-quality rye whiskey to add to your collection, Knob Creek Rye Whiskey is definitely worth checking out. Find it for $48 at ReserveBar.

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Madison Kopta is an editor at Whiskey Raiders. As a Northern California native and mom of four, Madison spends much of her time enjoying the great outdoors with her family. From camping to keeping an eagle eye out for Bigfoot, you can find Madison in nature, enjoying a glass of whiskey with her husband.