The Story Behind The Black Manhattan

Invented by mixologist Todd Smith in 2005 while bartending at Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco, the Black Manhattan exchanges the sweet vermouth of its historic counterpart for amaro. The resulting cocktail skews more bitter in profile, and delivers earthy, herbal essences.

The name is derived from the tint provided by the Averna amaro typically used in the cocktail. While it took 135 years or so to adapt the original in this manner, the Black Manhattan is likely to remain a mainstay in bars around the world.


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce amaro, such as Averna
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Garnish: cocktail cherry


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with cocktail cherry.

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Yield: 1
Calories: 175
Updated: 2022-06-01

The Black Manhattan Recipe