Is Batman a cocktail guy? We can’t say for sure, but if he was, then the Black Manhattan would definitely be his drink of choice. Much like the man himself, it’s big, dark, and boozy—and packs a mean punch. It’s a simple riff on the classic Manhattan that features Averna—a fruity, herbaceous Italian bitter with an intense caramel flavor. This brooding cocktail has become a modern classic, and we’ve got the perfect Black Manhattan recipe just for you.
Chill your glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes for an extra cold Black Manhattan.
Try bourbon instead of rye whiskey for a sweeter drinking experience.
Stir for at least 30 seconds to chill but no more, or you risk diluting your cocktail too much.
Pour the whiskey, Averna, and bitters into a cocktail shaker
Add a scoop of ice and stir for 30 seconds to chill
Strain into a chilled coupe glass
Garnish and serve immediately
History of the Black Manhattan
Unlike the original Manhattan cocktail, which dates to the 1800s, the Black Manhattan recipe is a modern-day Gen Z baby. Invented in 2005 by bartender Todd Smith, the Black Manhattan is a seductive caramel riff on the classic. The Italian amaro, Averna, replaces the traditional sweet vermouth. It adds depth and even more character to this already complex cocktail. The change is small, but the bittersweet Averna perfectly contrasts rye whiskey’s spicy character.
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The Manhattan is one of those cocktails that lends itself well to play and experimentation. There are Mexican, French, Italian, and even a winter version of the cocktail, and they’re all delicious. With so many options, we suggest you host a Manhattan cocktail party with your friends to find out which one you like best.
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When to serve
Our best Black Manhattan recipe is a boozy yet sophisticated sipper that’s perfect for any cocktail evening or black-tie event. They come together in a flash, and you can mix them in batches and then chill them until you’re ready to serve.