Black Manhattan, Or Blackhattan? No Matter The Name, It’s My Recent Whiskey Cocktail Obsession.

Black Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

I don’t have a lot of drinking rules, but when I order a glass of whiskey it damn sure better be served neat…

No ice.

No soda.

No water.

No frills.

I’m not judging you if you prefer an additive (ok, maybe a little). I’m just a fan of the basics. I do have one exception; I can be talked into a GOOD Manhattan on almost any occasion. Maybe it’s because the drink is mostly whiskey, the recipe has been around much longer than I have, or maybe, just maybe, it’s because you can’t help but feel like Don Draper in an episode of Mad Men every time you drink one.

I’ve experimented with many variations of the classic Manhattan recipe by alternating combinations of bitters, vermouth, and whiskey, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered a mysterious variation called a “Black Manhattan”. Fortunately, Columbus, Ohio is home to a handful of stellar craft cocktail bars and I was able to have one mixed up for me at the Blind Lady Tavern while visiting with a friend from the Columbus Craft Cocktail Tour. It doesn’t take much to see where the name comes from, this pic from my Instagram account shows just how dark the Black Manhattan really is (my photo is slightly filtered, but not that much). The drink’s dark and mysterious color is a result of using the Italian Liqueur “Averna” instead of Sweet Vermouth, and I have to say, I’m a huge fan of the recipe change up! So much so, that I went out the next night and purchased the ingredients to make the cocktail at home. I took a cue from the bartender, and used a few dashes of Orange Bitters from Fee Brother’s to help balance Averna’s slightly bitter taste (instead of the orange peel you saw in my pic).

After a few (tasty) tries, this is the recipe I’ve settled on:

  • 2 Ounces Rye Whiskey
  • 1 Ounce Averna
  • 1 Heavy Dash Orange Bitters
  • 1 Luxardo Cherry

I put all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, stir till the shaker gets cold, strain into a classic martini glass, then toss the cherry back in. Pretty easy right?

Wrapping up, I hope you end up loving this Manhattan variation as much as I do. Let me know what you think, and please share any of your own spins on the classic Manhattan cocktail in the comments section.

Whiskey Cocktail Recipes For Non-Whiskey Drinkers

Sazerac Whiskey Cocktail

I’ve seen this look before… The grimacing smile on the face of someone who just asked me for a whiskey recommendation, took a big gulp and is now trying to appease me by pretending the taste is what he or she was expecting.

Questions begin to race through my mind… Did I suggest a bad whiskey…? Should I have told them to take it easy…? Or are they simply not used to sipping whiskey and are a bit shocked by their experience? In my humble opinion it’s more than likely a mixture of question two and three. Sometimes I forget that I’ve been drinking whiskey on the rocks for a very long time now and not only am I prepared for what I am about to taste but that I don’t try to drink the whole glass in one gulp either.

So how do I help those new to whiskey overcome a (more than likely) poor first impression of the spirit that I love and start experiencing and enjoying such a fantastic drink? The answer, old school cocktails. I don’t mean drowning delicious whiskey in a river of Coca-Cola or a terribly sweet Whiskey Sour. I mean good old fashioned, carefully measured, more whiskey than mixers, prohibition style cocktails.

While I’m still new to mixing drinks I am lucky enough to have some non-whiskey drinkers that are willing to taste test my recipes! So grab some good whiskey, a handful of the following ingredients and a few willing and thirsty friends and enjoy evening of Whiskey Cocktails.

The Sazerac
2 oz. Rye Whiskey (Sazerac if you can find it)
½ Tsp. Sugar
2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 Lemon Peel Twist
8 drops Pernod (Absinthe / Herbsaint Substitute)

* Drip the Pernod in the glass but shake out any excess (don’t drop into drink).
* Dissolve the sugar first with 1 Tsp. of water.

Old Fashioned
2-½ oz. Bourbon
2 Orange Slices
2 Cherries
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
½ Tsp. Sugar

* Use a muddler and crush up 1 orange slice, 1 cherry (no stem) and the rest of the ingredients in your glass then add the bourbon and ice. The other orange slice and cherry are for garnish.

Riverside Ride
2 oz. Wheat Whiskey
½ oz. Cointreau
1 Dash Orange Bitters
1 Orange Slice for Garnish

Mix everything in a shaker with ice, pour into a highball glass and top off with seltzer water.

3 oz. Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Maraschino Cherry

I put everything but the cherry in the shaker over ice. It just seemed to mix better.

Sunset Boulevard
1 ½ oz. Canadian Whisky
4 oz. Ginger Ale
½ oz. Cranberry Juice
1 Orange Wedge

Shake with ice but strain it so you don’t get ice in your drink. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Misty Maple
3 oz. Canadian Whisky
½ oz. Pure Maple Syrup
Soda Water (to top off drink)

Shake over ice and strain into a short glass. Finish with soda water. Also, make sure to clean out your shaker after making this drink since the maple taste tends to need washed out.