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The Bitter Giuseppe is a modern cocktail that’s essentially a Cynar Manhattan! The popular Italian liqueur adds intriguing bittersweet notes.

Bitter Giuseppe
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Love a good Manhattan? Here’s a sophisticated variation using a trendy new amaro. Try the Bitter Giuseppe, essentially a Cynar Manhattan! This modern classic features Cynar, a popular Italian liqueur with a bittersweet flavor. Using it in a Manhattan makes for an intriguing spin on the classic, with notes of bitter herbs, caramel, and toffee. It’s an impressive drink to serve to friends, but easy enough that you can whip up one as a nightcap on moments notice.

What’s in a Bitter Giuseppe ?

The Bitter Giuseppe is the creation of a Chicago bartender, Stephen Cole, when he worked at the bar, The Violet Hour. It’s a spin on the Manhattan, a classic cocktail from the 1870’s starring rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. But swap out the whiskey for Cynar, an Italian bitter liqueur, and it’s a whole new drink! Throw in a hint of lemon juice for a citrusy brightness. The ingredients in a Bitter Giuseppe are:

  • Cynar
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange bitters

More about Cynar

Cynar is an amaro, part of a family of Italian herbal liqueurs that taste bitter (amaro means “bitter” in Italian). The most famous is the ultra-bitter Campari, and at the other end of the specturm is sweet Aperol. Cynar is somewhere in the middle, with other amari like Averna or Meletti. Here’s more about this tasty liqueur:

  • Cynar is an Italian bitter liqueur made with 13 herbs and spices, including artichoke leaves. The name is derived from the scientific name for artichoke (cynara), and a bright green artichoke in the logo. Cynar was invented in 1952 by an entrepreneur from Venice, Italy. It was later acquired by the Campari Group (that distributes Campari, Aperol, Averna and other liqueurs).
  • How to say it? You might be saying it wrong (we were). Pronounce it “Ch-NAHR.”
  • What does Cynar taste like? The flavor is bittersweet, with notes of caramel, toffee and cinnamon, and an bitter herbal finish.
  • What else to make with it? Try the Cynar Spritz or Cynar Negroni.

Orange bitters add complexity

Cocktail bitters make a drink transform from one-note to extraordinarily complex with just a few drops. That’s because bitters are made with so many herbs and spices, the flavors are not easily recognizable. The classic Bitter Giuseppe calls for orange bitters, which have a citrusy finish as the name suggests. If you don’t have them onhand, you can also use Angostura bitters, which are very easy to find and a close match.

Bitter Giuseppe, Cynar Manhattan

How to make a Bitter Giuseppe

Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, the easy part is making the Bitter Giuseppe itself, aka Cynar Manhattan! It’s incredibly easy to make:

  • Stir together all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass. This special type of glass is used for “stirred” cocktails that are spirit-forward and served without ice, like the Manhattan and Martini.
  • Don’t have one? You can use any glass or container you like to mix the drink, then strain it into the serving glass. But if you’re a cocktail connoisseur (and we’re thinking you are), grab yourself a cocktail mixing glass.

Ways to step it up!

The Bitter Giuseppe is really a matter or pouring everything into a glass! If you really want to take it over the top, try the following:

  • Serve with clear ice. Clear ice is crystal clear ice that you can cut into organic shapes. It makes your drink look like it’s from a fancy bar! It also chills it perfectly. Go to How to Make Clear Ice.
  • Add a lemon twist. Not sure how to make one? Go to How to Make a Lemon Twist….without any special tools.

More Cynar cocktails

Cynar is such a special liqueur: and it’s got lots of uses! Here are some of the best Cynar cocktails for using this special Italian amaro:

  • Cynar Negroni An intriguing spin on the classic featuring this Italian liqueur! It gives it a bitter, citrusy, and mellow flavor.
  • Cynar Spritz A refreshing cocktail starring your favorite Italian amaro. It’s bubbly, refreshing, and 100% impressive.
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Bitter Giuseppe (Cynar Manhattan)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Bitter Giuseppe is a modern classic cocktail that’s essentially a Cynar Manhattan! The popular Italian liqueur adds intriguing bittersweet notes. 


  • 2 ounces Cynar
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice (¼ ounce)
  • ½ tablespoon orange bitters (6 dashes)
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  1. Combine the Cynar, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass (or any other type of glass). Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice to a lowball glass, and strain the drink into the glass (or you can use a cocktail glass without ice). Garnish with a lemon twist
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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