12 Mouth-Watering Manhattan Cocktail Variations

The Classic Manhattan Recipe, Reimagined

  • 12 Drink
  • Updated: Feb 3, 2017

The Manhattan recipe is a classic, sure. But where would we be if we didn’t mess with classics? Because this is a relatively simple cocktail—rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters—there’s all kinds of room for experimentation. Below are 12 delicious Manhattan cocktail variations for your drinking pleasure.

Creative Manhattan Cocktail Variations

Some recipes simply swap out the type of whiskey or play around with different styles of vermouth, while others introduce entirely new flavors that stretch the definition of what a Manhattan really is.

Truly versatile and delicious nearly any way you mix it, this drink is sure to give the enterprising bartender plenty to work with. But be careful, these Manhattan variations are so good they’re dangerously easy to lose track of!

  • Rye whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, Dry Vermouth, Bitters, Citrus twist, Cherry
    The Perfect Manhattan is one of the simplest Manhattan variations out there, and differs only in its use of both dry and sweet vermouth (this is what "perfect" typically means in the cocktail world). It's often garnished with a lemon or orange twist, and sometimes a maraschino cherry as well—but one of the good ones, not those godawful neon-red things.This m…
  • rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters
    The Brooklyn cocktail finds a good balance between the sweetness of maraschino liqueur and a nice dry vermouth (instead of the sweet vermouth used in a Manhattan), making it a delicious twist on the original. And just like its namesake, this cocktail is a little bit weirder than its neighboring borough, using a relatively obscure French bitter called Amer Pi…
  • Rye, Punt e Mes, Yellow Chartreuse, Angostura bitters
    Named for the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, this cocktail is a very slight variation on a Manhattan that adds Yellow Chartreuse and Punt e Mes vermouth.
  • Rye, Punt e Mes, Maraschhino
    The Red Hook cocktail is a modern classic that comes to us from bartender Enzo Errico, formerly of NYC's Milk & Honey. This drink was perhaps the first Manhattan variation that took its name from a Brooklyn neighborhood, creating a trend that has since given us cocktails like the Bensonhurst and Greenpoint.The Red Hook begins with a rye whiskey base. Fro…
  • rye, cherry heering, sweet vermouth
    This classic first appeared in from The Gentleman’s Companion by Charles H. Baker, Jr., in 1939, and is something of a play on the Manhattan. Its name is a reference to the USS Maine, which kicked off the Spanish-American War after being sunk in the waters around Cuba in 1898.
  • Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Cynar, bitters, Amarena cherry
    A riff on the Manhattan from Portland, OR bartender Mike Robertson of The Driftwood Room, the Civil War blends some pretty inventive ingredients to great effect. Artichoke-flavored Cynar, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and a local bourbon called Burnside (you can use your favorite stuff in its place if it's not available) make for an excellent variation on the c…
  • Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Angostura bitters, Orange twist
    From dive bars to fancy cocktail joints, you don't get much more basic than a Rob Roy—and for good reason. This classic, Scotch-based variation on the Manhattan has been a favorite for generations.
  • Bourbon, Vya vermouth, orange bitters, Amarena cherry
    Who doesn't want to drink like Clint Eastwood? This Manhattan variation is made using Bulleit bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth, and orange bitters for a slight variation on the classic.
  • Rye Whiskey, Averna Amaro, Bitters
    The Black Manhattan is a simple Manhattan variation that was invented at famed San Francisco bar Bourbon & Branch by bartender Todd Smith. It replaces the sweet vermouth with Amaro Averna, a classic Sicilian amaro that's known for its bittersweet herbal and caramel flavors. The Black Manhattan cocktail has become something of a modern classic, inspiring …
  • Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Angostura Bitters
    The Manhattan cocktail is simple, elegant, and overflowing with class—the perfect drink to round out a long day at the office or enjoy under candlelight with a loved one. You should always use rye whiskey (some Canadian whiskies with a high percentage of rye will do in a pinch), and we recommend a quality sweet vermouth like Noilly Prat Rouge, Carpano Antica…
  • Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, Lillet Blanc, Orange Bitters
    The Hudson's White Manhattan is a simple Manhattan variation made with Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, a white (un-aged) whiskey. It also substitutes the classic vermouth with Lillet Blanc, a famous quinquina best known for its use in James Bond's original cocktail, the Vesper.
  • Rye, dry vermouth, Cynar, maraschino
    The Bensonhurst was first created by bartender Chad Solomon at NYC's Pegu Club bar. A riff on the classic Manhattan, and one of a popular series of drinks named for Brooklyn neighborhoods, the Bensonhurst subs sweet vermouth for dry. It gets a touch of bitterness from Cynar, an Italian liqueur, and a nod of bittersweet cherry from the addition of maraschino—…

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