Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Spirits
Best Manhattan Variations

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The Manhattan is a perfect cocktail. It’s minimalist yet elegant with just three ingredients: whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. But it’s also ripe for reinvention. While at-home experimentation is always encouraged (try swapping out the sweet vermouth for any bitter and boozy amaro you have around), these pre-existing variations on the Manhattan are just as delicious as the original.

A bold, rich take on a Manhattan, this stirred and strong drink has a base of peppery rye whiskey, which is balanced by Cynar, a herbal, bitter Italian amaro made from artichokes.

The Essentials

rye whiskey
dry vermouth
maraschino liqueur
This delectable variation, named for Manhattan’s neighboring, cross-river borough, mixes rye whiskey with dry vermouth, and a sassy combination of Amer Picon—a bitter herbal amaro from France—and maraschino liqueur. Sadly, Amer Picon is only available in Europe, but either Amaro CioCiaro, Golden Moon's Amer dit Picon or Bittermens Amère Nouvelle can serve as a fine substitute.

The Essentials

rye
dry vermouth
Amer Picon
This modern riff splits the measure of vermouth between sweet maraschino liqueur and bracingly bitter Punt e Mes. Named for the south Brooklyn neighborhood, it’s round, warming and decidedly delightful.

The Essentials

rye whiskey
Punt e Mes
maraschino liqueur
Using Scotch whisky instead of rye, this Manhattan variation is smoky and complex. First created in 1894, it is almost as old as the cocktail on which it was based.

The Essentials

Scotch
Sweet Vermouth
Bitters
Sweeter than the classic Manhattan, this variation uses a combination of sweet vermouth, floral, fruity maraschino liqueur and bourbon instead of rye.

The Essentials

bourbon
sweet vermouth
maraschino liqueur
Drier and more luxurious than your standard Manhattan, this is the Upper-West-Side-apartment-with-a-view-of-the-park version of the classic, downtown drink. With rye whiskey at the base, the cocktail calls for a heady mixture of sweet and dry vermouth along with orange and Angostura bitters for aromatic depth.

The Essentials

rye
dry vermouth
sweet vermouth
A spin on a Rob Roy, which itself is a riff on a Manhattan, this smoky libation adds Bénédictine, a herbal French liqueur made by monks, to the mix. It’s arguably even better than the original.

The Essentials

Blended Scotch
Sweet Vermouth
Bénédictine

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