Black Manhattan
Black Manhattan

A spicier twist on classic Manhattan, a Black Manhattan swaps amaro for sweet vermouth. Think of it as Manhattan’s bolder counterpart.

In this recipe

  • A modern twist
  • Amaro makes the drink
  • Used for Amaro
  • Go with rye
  • how to serve

Once you’ve mastered a few classic cocktail recipes at home, you should feel totally confident in modifying them to suit your tastes. If you felt you needed permission; You have it! There are so many modern twists on classic cocktails—especially in the 2000s—that you’ll be following in the footsteps of many bartenders before you.

A modern twist on a classic

What “does” a black Manhattan? amaro!

The classic Manhattan is already set (although depending on the ingredients, it may only be *just fine* and not stunning). But bringing Amaro into the mix brings with it a different lens.

Averna’s secret recipe features a special blend of herbs, roots, spices, citrus and other flavors for a complex flavor profile that is both bitter, sweet and spicy. In case you’re wondering, what’s the difference between a vermouth and an amaro? Put bluntly, sweet vermouth is a fortified and flavored wine with a bitterness, while an amaro is a liquor (the alcohol base of which can be a spirit or a wine) flavored with herbs, spices, etc.

The name Amaro means “bitter” in Italian.

Don’t let access to a particular Amaro put you off. While Averna is the recommendation in today’s recipe, there are many other Amari that you can use instead. My personal favorite is Amaro Lucano, which tastes similar to Averna but tastes less like “Coke” to me.

If you’re familiar with a lot of Amari and you’re delving into more complex and, um, Interesting Flavors, try Fernet Branca. With its invigorating bitter and minty profile, it stands out starkly from any rye whiskey and is a unique choice to experiment with.

Rye is a classic choice for a Manhattan cocktail

Don’t forget the flavors of the element you’re pairing the Amaro with – rye. Rye is the classic choice for a Manhattan and that doesn’t have to change here with the Black Manhattan. Rye whiskey has its own spicy flavor with a drier (read: less sweet) flavor than a bourbon. This spiciness doesn’t compete so much, but enhances the Amaro’s own spicy quality. My pick is Old Overholt, a lightly spiced, soft rye that’s very budget-friendly. You can use it both here and in classic Manhattan.

How to serve a black Manhattan

A Black Manhattan can be enjoyed in the same style as the classic drink, i.e. “up” (i.e. without ice) and in a coupé. Here, I recommend serving with an orange zest garnish to complement the Amaro’s orange bitters and citrus flavors.

Make these classic cocktails!

  • Manhattan cocktail
  • french martini
  • Gin fizz
  • Mezcal mule
  • Tom Collins

Black Manhattan

preparation time
3 minutes

total time
3 minutes

1 serving

1 drink


  • 2 ounces Rye Whiskeylike Old Overholt

  • 1 ounce amarolike Averna

  • 1 hyphen aromatic style Bitter

  • 1 hyphen orange Bitter

  • Orange peelfor garnish


  1. make cocktail:

    In a mixing glass 2/3 full with ice, pour Rye Whiskey, Amaro, Aromatic Style Bitters and Orange Bitters. Stir for 20 seconds to cool.

  2. Strain into the glass and serve:

    Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with the orange zest. Surcharge.

    Did you like the recipe? Let’s star down!

nutritional information (per serving)
254 calories
0g Fat
18g carbohydrates
0g protein
Previous articleCherry Pop Cocktail
Next articleHomemade Coffee Liqueur
Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!