Black Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Black Manhattan Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Black Manhattan is a modern twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, which originated in the late 19th century at the Manhattan Club in New York City. The Black Manhattan replaces the traditional sweet vermouth with Averna, an Italian amaro, giving it a darker, more complex flavor profile. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a well-balanced, bittersweet drink with a hint of herbal complexity.

How Black Manhattan Tastes?

The Black Manhattan has a rich, bittersweet taste with a smooth, velvety texture. The combination of rye whiskey and Averna amaro creates a complex flavor profile with notes of caramel, chocolate, and herbs. The addition of bitters adds depth and a slight spiciness to the drink.

Interesting facts about Black Manhattan

  • The Black Manhattan was created by bartender Todd Smith at Bourbon & Branch, a speakeasy-style bar in San Francisco.
  • Averna, the key ingredient in a Black Manhattan, is a Sicilian amaro made from a secret blend of herbs, roots, and citrus rinds.
  • The cocktail is often garnished with a brandied cherry, which adds a touch of sweetness and a pop of color.


Rye Whiskey

Rye whiskey brings a spicy and fruity flavor, giving the cocktail its backbone. Too little and you might as well call it a tipsy cherry juice, but too much and you're inviting the spirit to a solo performance where it wasn't supposed to be a monologue.

Mary Mitkina

Averna Amaro

Averna adds a sweet yet bitter herbal quality, creating a rich complexity. It's like the bass player in a band—often overlooked but miss it, and the whole rhythm's off. If you switch it for another amaro, you might find yourself with a completely different genre of drink.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters

A couple of dashes are like the spice in your grandma’s secret recipe—it rounds everything out. Forget them, and the drink loses its harmonic zing. Switch it up with other bitters, and you'll be adding a different character to the melody—exciting, but a new song altogether.

Alex Green

Brandied Cherry

This little gem doesn't just sit pretty on the rim; it adds a hint of sweetness and a touch of class. Remove it, and the drink loses its finale, that sweet little note that lingers after the curtain call.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Black Manhattan Drink

  1. Chill a cocktail glass by filling it with ice and water, then set aside.
  2. In a mixing glass, combine 2 oz rye whiskey, 1 oz Averna amaro, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir well to chill and dilute the cocktail.
  4. Empty the chilled cocktail glass and strain the cocktail into it.
  5. Garnish with a brandied cherry by placing it on a cocktail pick and resting it across the rim of the glass.

Pro Tips

  • Use large ice cubes in the mixing glass to slow down dilution.
  • Stir the cocktail for at least 30 seconds to ensure proper chilling and dilution.
  • Use a high-quality brandied cherry for the best flavor and presentation.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese & Charcuterie

Rye whiskey and Averna amaro carry bold flavors that stand up well to fatty and rich foods. A Black Manhattan can be paired with strong cheeses such as Stilton or Aged Cheddar and some spicy charcuterie like chorizo or soppressata.

Chocolate Desserts

The bitter and sweet notes of the cocktail will complement dark chocolate desserts beautifully. Try it with a chocolate lava cake or espresso brownies for a decadent experience.

BBQ Dishes

The smokiness of BBQ dishes like pulled pork or brisket would be elevated by the spicy and herbal notes of the cocktail, making for a robust and satisfying pairing.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Black Manhattan

  • Bourbon can be used instead of rye whiskey for a sweeter, fuller-bodied cocktail.
  • Other amari, such as Ramazzotti or Montenegro, can be used in place of Averna for a different flavor profile.
  • Orange bitters can be used instead of Angostura bitters for a citrusy twist.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoked Black Manhattan

Swap out the rye whiskey for a smoked whiskey to add a campfire twist. Stir it up with Averna, chocolate bitters instead of Angostura, and garnish with a smoked cherrywood cherry. This version takes you on a woodland escape, where each sip is like a cozy fireside chat.

Maple Black Manhattan

Introduce 0.5 oz of maple syrup to the original mix. This sweet twist will provide a comforting, autumnal note that's like wrapping your taste buds in a warm, woolen scarf. Perfect for those brisk evenings when you want sophistication with a touch of homely sweetness.

Herbal Black Manhattan

Add a sprig of rosemary and a lemon zest to the original ingredients. Muddle them gently in the mixing glass before adding the rest. This herby twist will lend a refreshing and aromatic lift to the cocktail, almost like a little herb garden you can sip from with every stir.

In case you forgot basics how to make Black Manhattan

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Black Manhattan

What is the difference between a Black Manhattan and a traditional Manhattan?

A traditional Manhattan cocktail is made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. The Black Manhattan follows the same structural pattern but switches out the sweet vermouth for Averna amaro, a dark and bitter Italian liqueur.

What type of glass is best for serving a Black Manhattan?

A Black Manhattan is typically served in a chilled coupe glass, which helps keep the drink cold and enhances its flavors.

What other garnishes can I use for a Black Manhattan?

While a brandied cherry is standard, some people enjoy garnishing their Black Manhattan with a twist of orange peel for a hit of bright, citrusy aroma.

Is the Black Manhattan suitable for vegans?

Yes, the Black Manhattan is suitable for vegans as it does not contain any animal products.

Does a Black Manhattan contain any gluten?

Rye whiskey is made from grain, which contains gluten. However, distillation usually removes most gluten proteins. If you're gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, it's best to drink only spirits labeled as gluten-free.

More similar recipes to Black Manhattan!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe