May 25, 2020

The Black Manhattan, an Amaro Twist on a Classic

A delicious switch up from the classic Manhattan recipe that marries whiskey with the warm herbal flavors of Amaro.

Pouring bourbon into a mixing glass

The Black Manhattan gives the bold flavors of a good whiskey a flavorful earthy base to stand on.

When tied together with a dash or two of bitters and the bright smell of a citrus peel it makes for a damn fine drink.

Easy to make and downright delicious.

Measuring bourbon for the black manhattan

What's the best whiskey for a Manhattan?

That's like asking a mother to pick her favorite child... They're all great in their own way and people get mad if you chose.

Pick something that would taste good on its own and you should get a nice cocktail in return. The whiskey makes up half the flavor in the cocktail so you want something that tastes good.

You can use bourbon or rye for your Manhattan depending on what flavors you prefer in the final drink. 

So what's the difference?

Pouring bourbon into a mixing glass

Bourbon vs. Rye

The great debate in the world of Manhattans. I don't think either is right or wrong but there will be slight differences so chose based on what type of cocktails you prefer.

A bourbon Manhattan will usually be a little smoother with more cinnamon and "baking spice" flavors, where one with rye will have a deliciously spicy bite to it.

Both types of whiskey make great drinks and it's worth testing them both to see what you enjoy.

Pouring Montenegro
stirring a manhattan

Choosing your Black Manhattan Amaro

An Amaro is an Italian liquor made by infusing alcohol (wine, brandy etc.) with a blend of herbs, spices and other botanicals. The result is a sweet and complex spirit that is usually enjoyed with a meal to help with digestion, but is also delicious in cocktails.

The Black Manhattan is often made with Averna Amaro as the most popular version of the recipe calls for it directly, but you can use other options too!

A few great Averna Amaro substitutes are: Montenegro, Ramazotti, Nonino, or Vecchio Amro del Capo.

Black Manhattan with orange twist

Garnish with a twist

Serve your Black Manhattans up in a chilled cocktail glass, or on the rocks, and with or without a piece of citrus peel.

Adding an orange twist gives a delicious smell to the drink with every sip, but it's totally optional. You could also give the drink a different spin by using lemon, grapefruit, or any combination.

Try making some Black Manhattans as a post meal cocktail for your next homemade dinner.

Black Manhattan Cocktail

A Manhattan cocktail variation that uses an amaro in the place of the standard sweet vermouth for a slightly herbal whiskey cocktail.


  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Amaro
  • 2 dashes Bitters
  • 1 piece Orange Peel - optional


  • Add the ingredients to a stirring glass.
  • Add ice and stir until chilled, about 20 seconds.
  • Strain into a rocks glass with ice or a chilled coupe glass.
  • Express the oils of a piece of citrus peel and drop in for garnish.


You can try this cocktail with just about any Amaro. They all of their own unique flavors that are fun to experiment with.
Averna, Nonino, Ramazotti, and Montenegro are all great ones to start with!
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 drink
Tag me at @mydrinkinghobby when you make this!

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