This rich Manhattan variation is a must try for whiskey cocktail lovers. The dark herbal notes of amaro compliment the warm spice of whiskey perfectly.
The Black Manhattan is a variation of the classic cocktail made by swapping out the usual sweet vermouth for a rich herbal amaro.
Created by Todd Smith at Bourbon & Branch, the combination works perfectly when tied together with a few dashes of bitters and an orange twist.
Easy to make and downright delicious.
The Black Manhattan ingredients
In addition to whiskey and amaro you will need a few dashes of orange and Angostura bitters, and an orange to use a piece of the peel for garnishing.
choosing a whiskey
An old school Manhattan was most commonly made with rye whiskey because its spicy kick was good for cutting through some of the sweetness from the vermouth.
The Black Manhattan is nice with either bourbon or rye.
If your are after slightly sweeter and more mellow opt for the bourbon. Whichever you choose, I think it's best to go with a bottle that is at least 50% alcohol (or 100 proof). Higher ABV whiskeys work great in stirred cocktails like this because they pack more flavor to stand up to dilution and the other ingredients.
What is Amaro Averna?
Averna is a brand of Italian Amaro (which means bitter) made by infusing alcohol with herbs, citrus, and other botanicals.
It has a rich flavor with notes of honey and dark sugar balanced by licorice, cola, and hints of barely noticeable herbs in the background. The complexity and sweetness make it a great replacement for sweet vermouth.
Amaro Averna substitues
Montenegro, Ramazotti, Nonino, or Vecchio Amaro del Capo are all good substitutions for Amaro Averna.
There are plenty of other options too, but for the Black Manhattan you will want a dark amaro with complex background flavors and a fair amount of sweetness.
Black Manhattan Variations
Just like with the classic Manhattan recipe you can create endless variations by experimenting with the whiskey, amaro, and bitters.
Switching between bourbon and rye can turn hints of sweetness to spice, or you could make a whole new cocktail by trying the recipe with a nice dark rum or even brandy.
Different Amari will also bring there own uniqueness like the bitter smokiness of Cynar, or light bitter citrus flavor of Aperol. Go crazy, it's your cocktail!
Try these whiskey cocktails too:
Black Manhattan Cocktail
- 2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz Amaro Averna
- 2 dashes Angostura
- 2 dashes Orange Bitters - optional
- Orange Peel for garnish - optional
- Cocktail Cherry - optional
- Add the liquid ingredients to a stirring glass
- Add ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass or rocks glass with ice
- Express the oils from the orange peel and drop in for garnish
- Optionally, add a cocktail cherry to the finished drink
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