Fun Variations on the Classic Manhattan

One of the most enduring cocktails is the Manhattan. Although this fan-favorite alcoholic beverage originated sometime around the mid to late 1880s, consumers enjoy it just as much today as they did a hundred years ago. Like a lot of popular mixed drinks, the Manhattan has evolved. Here, Columbia Distributing details different Manhattan cocktail recipes for you to try.

Manhattan Cocktail Recipes

A Manhattan is a deceptively simple drink yet contains everything you expect from a cocktail. It features desirable characteristics, such as richness and warmth from the whiskey, sweetness from the vermouth, and bitters to balance the opposing flavors. This combination of ingredients makes the Manhattan an ideal candidate for endless variations. Consider crafting one or more of the following recipes:

Bourbon Manhattan

Many believe a bourbon Manhattan to be just as good, if not better, than the original. The smooth and sweet flavor of bourbon effortlessly enhances the drinking experience. By replacing the rye whiskey with bourbon, you will notice notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel that complement the sweet vermouth excellently. For this Manhattan variation, you will need:

  • 2 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Cherries for garnish

This variation is easy to make and only involves a few steps, including:

  1. Add your bourbon, sweet vermouth, and both bitters to a mixing glass with ice
  2. Stir the ingredients until well chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe
  4. Adorn your cocktail with a brandied cherry

Black Manhattan

A funky spin on the classic Manhattan, the black Manhattan swaps out sweet vermouth for an Italian amaro. This blend still features the intense and boozy characteristics of a classic Manhattan but boosts its deliciousness by adding caramel and chocolate notes. The ingredients in a black Manhattan include:

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. Averna amaro
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • Brandied cherries for garnish

Like the bourbon Manhattan, this cocktail is a breeze to make. Follow these steps to craft this drink:

  1. Take the rye whiskey, Italian amaro (Averna), Angostura bitters, and orange bitters, and add the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
  2. Stir until well chilled
  3. Strain the drink into a chilled coupe glass
  4. Embellish your cocktail with a brandied cherry and enjoy

Brooklyn Cocktail

Those who love the traditional Manhattan should try this alternative. Like the well-known Manhattan, the Brooklyn cocktail is spirit-forward with a few twists. Rounding out the flavor in this sophisticated drink is maraschino liqueur and dry vermouth. This beverage is perfect for impressing other Manhattan lovers during a dinner party or cocktail hour. Ingredients for a Brooklyn cocktail are as follows:

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • ¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
  • ¼ oz. Amer Picon
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

To make this mixed drink, follow these quick and easy steps:

  1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, add the rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon
  2. Shake ingredients vigorously until well chilled
  3. Strain the drink into a chilled coupe glass
  4. Dress up your beverage with a skewered maraschino cherry

Rob Roy Cocktail

Scotch enthusiasts may enjoy the Rob Roy cocktail. This drink is meant for slow sipping and uses scotch whiskey instead of the traditional rye. To create this mixed drink, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 oz. scotch of your choice
  • ¾ oz. sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Brandied cherries for garnish

Follow these steps to make this scotch-inspired Manhattan:

  1. Combine the Scotch, sweet vermouth, and bitters into a cocktail mixing glass
  2. Add a handful of ice to the glass
  3. Continuously stir for about 30 seconds or until well chilled
  4. Strain your drink into a coupe or cocktail glass
  5. Use speared brandied cherries to add flair

Get Cocktail Inspiration at Columbia Distributing

Like most great classic cocktails, the Manhattan has inspired a wide range of spinoffs. Those looking to try alternatives to the traditional cocktail should turn to Columbia Distributing for assistance. We are a premier beverage distributor in the Pacific Northwest that delivers a wide range of products, including alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic beverages. Contact us today to learn more about our selection and what kind of fun twists you can do on classic cocktail recipes.