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Black Manhattan, A Great Blend of Rye Whiskey and Amaro

by | Jul 2, 2023 | 0 comments

The Black Manhattan is a modern twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, which has its roots in the late 19th century. The Black Manhattan replaces the traditional sweet vermouth with a bitter liqueur called Averna, resulting in a darker and more robust flavor profile.

While the exact origin of the Black Manhattan is not well-documented, its emergence can be attributed to the ongoing evolution of cocktail culture and experimentation by bartenders.

Black Manhattan and Ingredients

The original Manhattan cocktail is believed to have been created in the 1870s or 1880s, likely in New York City. It was named after the borough of Manhattan, which was a hub of activity and innovation during the cocktail’s formative years.

The classic Manhattan recipe typically includes rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, stirred together and garnished with a cherry.

Black Manhattan Recipe

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Recipe by Carl Busch Course: BeverageCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Black Manhattan is an easy riff on the classic cocktail. It uses Amaro Averna instead of sweet vermouth. Must try it!



  • Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass.
  • Add ice.
  • Stir for 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
  • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Recipe Video

When Did the Black Manhattan Become Popular?

The Black Manhattan gained popularity in the early 2000s as part of the resurgence of craft cocktails and the revival of classic recipes.

The substitution of Averna, an Italian amaro known for its bitter and herbal flavors, adds complexity and depth to the cocktail. Averna’s dark color is what gives the Black Manhattan its name.

The drink has since become a favorite among mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts, offering a unique twist on the traditional Manhattan.

Variations of the Black Manhattan may feature different types of whiskey, such as bourbon or even smoky Scotch, and the addition of other ingredients like orange bitters or orange peel.

It’s important to note that cocktail histories can sometimes be elusive, as the origins of many drinks are often debated or lost to time.

The Black Manhattan, while a relatively recent addition to the cocktail canon, has quickly become a beloved variation that showcases the ongoing creativity and innovation within the world of mixology.

What is Amaro Averna?

Amaro Averna is a popular Italian bitter liqueur that has been produced since 1868. It is known for its rich and complex flavor profile, characterized by a balance of bitter and sweet notes.

Averna is classified as an amaro, which is a category of Italian herbal liqueurs traditionally consumed as digestifs.

Black Manhattan Ingredients

Amaro Averna Recipe

The recipe for Averna is a closely guarded secret, known only to a select few individuals within the company. Its rich flavor is said to be made from a blend of herbs, roots, citrus rinds, and other botanical ingredients.

The exact combination and proportions of these ingredients give Averna its distinctive taste.

Averna has a dark brown color and a syrupy consistency. It has a pronounced bitterness that is complemented by the sweetness of caramel and honey-like flavors. The liqueur also offers hints of citrus, spices, and herbal undertones.

Averna is typically enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as a component in various cocktails, including the Black Manhattan.

The Popularity of Amaro Averna

Over the years, Averna has gained a reputation as one of the most popular and well-regarded amaro brands in Italy and beyond.

Its versatility and unique flavor have made it a staple in many bars and households, both as a sipping liqueur and a versatile ingredient in mixology.

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