In the ever-evolving world of mixology, classic cocktails are continually reinvented and reimagined.
The Black Manhattan is the perfect example of that.
The Black Manhattan puts a sultry and captivating twist on the classic Manhattan.
Its rich, multi-layered flavor envelops the senses. This is a robust, timeless, and sophisticated drink.
And if you haven’t yet tried it, get ready to be amazed. The cocktail has everything the classic Manhattan has.
But it’s less sweet and preferable for those who enjoy drier drinks.
Join me today to learn how to make it, how it’s different from the classic Manhattan and more!
What Is a Black Manhattan?
The Black Manhattan is a rye whiskey-based cocktail- a twist on the classic Manhattan. It contains rye whiskey, bitters, and Amaro.
It first appeared in 2005. Experts credit San Francisco restaurant Bourbon & Branch with its creation. It has a rich, complex, sometimes herby flavor.
The Black Manhattan is perfect for those looking for a more intense twist on the classic drink.
Manhattan vs. Black Manhattan
These two delicious drinks have much in common, but they have their differences, too.
The primary difference is that the Black Manhattan replaces the Manhattan’s vermouth with Amaro.
Black Manhattan also adds a double dose of bitters, compared to a single dash in the classic cocktail.
This results in a drier drink- less sweet and more herby than the Manhattan.
The list of what you need to make a Black Manhattan is simple:
- Ice- Use large ice cubes to prevent them from melting and diluting your drink.
- Rye Whiskey- I enjoy Sazerac, but any brand will suffice.
- Averna- I typically stick to Averna, but you can use another Amaro brand you like better. Look for ones that mirror the flavor of Averna. (Herby and spicy with notes of honey and caramel.)
- Bitters- You will use Angostura and orange bitters for this cocktail. Together, they provide the drink with a complex, citrusy, rich flavor.
- Cocktail Cherry- For sweetness. If you’d rather have an orange peel garnish, that is okay, too.
How to Make a Black Manhattan
You can make this drink in four simple steps: mix, stir, strain, and garnish!
1. Mix. Add ice to a mixing glass. Then, pour in the rye whiskey, Averna, and both bitters.
2. Stir. Stir briskly for approximately 30 seconds or until the drink is well chilled.
3. Strain. Strain the drink into a chilled glass.
4. Garnish. I like to garnish my Black Manhattan with a cocktail cherry. However, some people prefer an orange peel.
Use whichever you like best, then serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Cocktail
Keep the following tips in mind when mixing up your Black Manhattan:
- Chill the glass beforehand. Place a Martini or coupe glass in the freezer for an hour. Or fill it with ice water to chill it while you make the cocktail.
- Stir, don’t shake. Stirring ensures clarity and a silky mouthfeel. It’s ideal for spirit-forward cocktails like the Manhattan. Shaking can muddy the appearance and texture.
- Use high-quality ingredients. This tip is pretty standard for any cocktail recipe. The higher the quality of your ingredients, the better your drink will taste.
- Stick to Averna. While you can use any Amaro in this cocktail, Averna is best. It provides the crispest and best taste- the one closest to how a Black Manhattan should taste.
- Sip and savor. The Black Manhattan is NOT a drink you should knock back. Sip it; savor it; ENJOY it.
- Try a different liquor. Rye whiskey is popular for this recipe because of its spicier profile. But you can also try bourbon for a sweeter, rounder flavor.
- Garnish options. Instead of a cocktail cherry, you can also garnish a Black Manhattan with an orange twist. Or you can go nuts with it and use whatever garnish you like!
- Substitute Fernet Branca for Averna. As mentioned above, Averna gives this drink the best taste. However, you can try Fernet Branca to branch out a little. It adds a slightly more bitter but fresher taste.
- Turn it black. Add a few drops of black food coloring if you want the drink’s appearance to match its name. Doing so will give the cocktail a gorgeous black hue.
How to Serve a Black Manhattan
Serve the Black Manhattan the same way you serve a traditional Manhattan cocktail.
Strain it into a chilled coupe glass without ice, garnished with a cocktail cherry or orange peel.
A Martini glass will suffice if you don’t have a coupe glass.
Remember not to add ice to the cocktail itself. When it melts, it will dilute the drink. If you insist on using ice, invest in metal whiskey stones instead.
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