Black Manhattan Cocktail 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.

August 9, 2023


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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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Extra information to help you 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

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