Photo of author
Written By

Introduction to the Metropolitan Cocktail

Welcome to the world of classic cocktails, where the Metropolitan reigns with a blend of rich flavors and a storied past. This spirit-forward concoction is a close relative of the Manhattan but stands out with its use of brandy. It’s perfect for those who appreciate a sophisticated touch to their evening.

The Metropolitan cocktail is a symphony of brandy’s warmth, sweet vermouth’s herbal notes, and the subtle sweetness of simple syrup. It’s a drink that promises to deliver complexity and satisfaction in every sip.

Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or new to the scene, the Metropolitan is a must-try. Its balance of ingredients and elegant presentation make it a timeless choice for any occasion.

Key Facts About the Metropolitan

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 24% ABV (48 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 164 kcal
  • Glass Type: Chilled cocktail glass
  • Typical Garnish: Cherry or an orange twist

Interesting Facts about the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan is often overshadowed by the Manhattan, yet it offers a distinct taste that brandy lovers cherish. Its origins are somewhat murky, but it’s believed to have been a favorite during the early 20th century. The choice of garnish can subtly influence the cocktail’s aroma, making it a versatile drink for experimentation.

Metropolitan Cocktail Preparation

Tasting Notes on the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan cocktail is a harmonious blend of deep, oaky brandy and the sweet, complex flavors of vermouth. The simple syrup adds a touch of sweetness, while the bitters provide a layer of spice that ties everything together.

This cocktail is ideal for those who enjoy a robust drink with a hint of sweetness. It’s perfect for sipping slowly on a relaxed evening or as a sophisticated starter at a dinner party.

The Metropolitan’s rich profile makes it a favorite during the colder months, but its versatility allows for enjoyment year-round.

History of the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan’s history is as rich as its flavor. While its exact origins are unclear, it’s believed to have emerged in the late 19th or early 20th century. It shares a lineage with the Manhattan, one of the most iconic cocktails in history.

During Prohibition, the Metropolitan may have seen a decline in popularity due to the scarcity of quality brandy. However, it has since regained its status as a classic cocktail, enjoyed by connoisseurs around the world.

Today, the Metropolitan is celebrated for its elegance and simplicity, a testament to the enduring appeal of classic cocktails.

Metropolitan Ingredients

  • Brandy (2 oz): The soul of the cocktail, providing a rich and warming base.
  • Sweet Vermouth (1 oz): Adds herbal complexity and sweetness.
  • Simple Syrup (1/2 tsp): Balances the drink with a touch of sugar.
  • Aromatic Bitters (2 dashes): Introduces depth and spice.
  • Cherry: A classic garnish that adds a touch of elegance.

Did you know?

The Metropolitan is a testament to the versatility of brandy, showcasing its ability to create a cocktail that’s both bold and refined.

Metropolitan Cocktail Ingredients

Metropolitan Method

Chilling the Glass

Start by placing your cocktail glass in the freezer to chill. A cold glass will ensure your Metropolitan stays at the perfect temperature.

Combining the Ingredients

Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Measure and pour the brandy, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and aromatic bitters over the ice.

Stirring to Perfection

Using a bar spoon, stir the mixture for about 30 seconds. This not only chills the drink but also dilutes it slightly, enhancing the flavors.


Strain the cocktail into your chilled glass, ensuring a smooth, clear drink without ice shards.


Complete the cocktail with a cherry or an orange twist, adding an extra layer of aroma and visual appeal.

Serving Suggestion for the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass. The stem of the glass keeps the drink cool, while its wide brim allows the aromas to reach the nose, enhancing the tasting experience.

For garnishes, a cherry adds a touch of color and sweetness, while an orange twist can provide a citrusy aroma that complements the brandy’s richness.

Elevating the Metropolitan

  • Quality Brandy: Opt for a high-quality brandy to ensure a smooth and flavorful base.
  • Homemade Syrup: Consider making your own simple syrup to control the sweetness level.
  • Artisanal Bitters: Experiment with different bitters to find a unique flavor profile.

Elevated Metropolitan Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Metropolitan

If you’re out of brandy, a good quality whiskey can serve as a substitute, turning your drink into a classic Manhattan. For a less alcoholic version, consider using a non-alcoholic spirit or diluting the brandy with a bit of water.

Similar cocktails include the Manhattan, the Rob Roy, and the Bobby Burns, all of which share a base of whiskey or scotch and vermouth.

Add a Twist to the Metropolitan

For a modern take, infuse your brandy with spices like cinnamon or vanilla. You could also replace the simple syrup with a flavored liqueur to add a new dimension to the drink.

Another variation is to use a different type of bitters, such as orange or chocolate, to complement the brandy’s natural flavors.

Preferred Liquors for the Metropolitan

When crafting a Metropolitan, consider using brandies like Rémy Martin VSOP or Hennessy for their smooth and nuanced flavors. These brands are known for their quality and will elevate your cocktail experience.

Similar Cocktails to the Metropolitan

If you enjoy the Metropolitan, you might also like the Sidecar, which features brandy with lemon juice and triple sec. The Brandy Alexander, with its blend of brandy, crème de cacao, and cream, offers a sweeter alternative.

Food Pairings to go with the Metropolitan

The Metropolitan pairs well with rich appetizers like cheese boards or charcuterie. For something more substantial, consider steak or a hearty stew to complement the brandy’s robustness.

Metropolitan FAQs

Can I use any type of brandy? While you can use any brandy, the quality will greatly affect the taste. Opt for a brandy you enjoy on its own.

Is it necessary to use a cocktail glass? A cocktail glass is traditional, but any small, stemmed glass will work to keep the drink cool.

Can I make a Metropolitan in advance? It’s best made fresh, but you can mix the ingredients without ice and store them in the fridge for a short time.


Metropolitan Cocktail

The Metropolitan is a classic cocktail reminiscent of the Manhattan, with the main difference being the use of brandy instead of whiskey. It's a sophisticated choice for those who enjoy a spirit-forward drink with a touch of sweetness.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 164 kcal


  • Mixing glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Cocktail glass


  • 2 oz Brandy 60 ml
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth 30 ml
  • 1/2 tsp Simple Syrup 2.5 ml
  • 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • Cherry for garnish


  • Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the brandy, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and aromatic bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients together until well chilled, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a cherry.


The quality of the brandy will significantly impact the taste of the Metropolitan, so choose a brandy that you enjoy on its own. Also, while the classic recipe calls for a cherry garnish, an orange twist can be used for a touch of citrus aroma.
Keyword bitters, brandy, Classic Cocktails, Metropolitan Cocktail, Simple Syrup, Spirit Forward, Stirred Cocktail, sweet vermouth

Leave a Comment