Midnight Manhattan Cocktail

Midnight Manhattan Cocktail


When it comes to Prohibition cocktails, everyone knows the Manhattan Cocktail.  It is right up there with the original Gin Martini.  While the Martini is made with gin and white (dry) vermouth, the Manhattan is made with rye whiskey and red (sweet) vermouth. Of course, the Manhattan, like the greatest city in the world, is more complex in flavor, especially when you add a few drops of Abbott’s Bitters.  While these bitters are now extinct, there are at least two companies who resurrected the recipe and are producing them.

While you could just as easily replace bourbon for rye in this case, keep in mind the original was made with rye since Manhattan is closer to rye-producing regions in Northern New York than the bourbon region in Kentucky.

While the original Manhattan recipe varies, this is basically the same, but simply substituting an amaro like Foro or Averna in place of sweet vermouth.  I prefer this version, simply because the taste and freshness of sweet vermouth, once it is opened, goes straight downhill within a week.  Even if you buy the smallest bottle, you are probably not going to drink a dozen of them in a week before it goes bad unless you are having a party.  Even then, I doubt your guests are going to use up a whole bottle. If you run a bar, thats a different story, but even then I am hesitant to order a Manhattan in a bar since it can’t possibly compete with a Martini or other cocktails far more popular. So for me, the amaro holds up much better and lends a much better taste than sweet vermouth, fresh or not so fresh, this works better in my opinion.

Midnight Manhattan Recipe:

  • 2 oz or 60ml Rye Whiskey (depending on your tastes)
  • Half Ounce or 15 ml Amaro such as Foro or Averna
  • Dash of Abbott’s Bitters, Fee’s Old Fashioned, or Angostura if you don’t have any of the others.
  • Shake hard for a minute over a handful of ice, pour into a coupe or martini glass
  • Garnish with Maraschino cherry or orange rind.

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