Here are the most popular Manhattan variations! Try them all, swapping out the rye whiskey for bourbon, Scotch, brandy and more.
Love a good Manhattan? This boozy classic goes all the way back to the 1870’s, likely invented at a club called The Manhattan Club in New York City. The perfect meld of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters at once became a classic: and it’s stood the test of time! It’s just as sophisticated to sip on a Manhattan today as it was a hundred years ago. Like any classic, it’s spawned lots of variations over the years.
Here are the most popular Manhattan variations! Each spin on the classic has a unique character and vibe. Some have a long history of their own, like the Rob Roy or Brooklyn, others are a simple swap out of the rye whiskey. Scotch, bourbon, brandy, and even Italian amaros bring new life to this classy drink.
And now…the most popular Manhattan variations!
Love a good Manhattan? Then you’ll love this spin: the Black Manhattan! This classy drink swaps out sweet vermouth for an Italian amaro. It’s strong and boozy, like any good Manhattan, but with caramel and chocolate notes on the finish. The one’s one of a kind.
Ingredients: Rye whiskey, Italian amaro, Angostura bitters
Love a Manhattan? Then you absolutely must try the Brooklyn! The Brooklyn is similarly spirit forward, with a few special twists to add nuance. Maraschino liqueur and dry vermouth add intrigue and round out the flavor in this sophisticated drink. This one is perfect for impressing friends at a dinner party or cocktail hour.
Ingredients: Rye whiskey, Dry vermouth, Maraschino liqueur, Amer Picon or other herbal, citrusy amaro
What’s the best type of Manhattan? In our minds, it’s a Bourbon Manhattan! Over here, we love the smooth, sweet flavor of bourbon whiskey. While a Manhattan is classically made with spicy rye whiskey, we prefer it made with bourbon. The notes of oak, vanilla and caramel oak in bourbon are the perfect match for sweet vermouth.
Ingredients: Bourbon whiskey, Sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters
What if you’re a Scotch lover and a Manhattan lover? Make the Rob Roy! The Rob Roy drink is a Manhattan cocktail made with Scotch whisky instead of bourbon or rye. This booze-forward drink is the perfect way to enjoy a good Scotch! It’s a retro slow-sipper that’s been around for over a century.
Ingredients: Scotch whiskey, Sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters
Here’s a drink to impress all your friends: the Revolver! This spin on the Manhattan stars bourbon paired with Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur, instead of the standard sweet vermouth. It makes an intriguing drink: sweet vanilla and oak notes as you start the sip, with a finish of lingering bittersweet coffee.
Ingredients: Bourbon whiskey, Tia Maria (or other coffee liqueur), orange bitters, orange peel
Looking for a sophisticated spin on the Manhattan? Try the Brandy Manhattan! If you’ve got a bottle of Cognac or brandy, this is the drink for you. Brandy is sweeter than whiskey, with fruity, floral and citrus notes. So brandy makes for a sweeter, more complex and even more exciting Manhattan cocktail, in our opinion.
Ingredients: Brandy or Cognac, Sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters
More classic cocktail variations
Want to try other spins on the classics outside of these Manhattan variations? Here are a few other cocktails that have inspired variations over the years:
- Bloody Mary: Try the Classic Bloody Mary, then make all of the Top Bloody Mary Variations
- Negroni: Try the Classic Negroni, then make the Best Negroni Variations
- Moscow Mule: Try the Classic Moscow Mule, then try the Top Moscow Mule Variations
- Martini: Try the Classic Dry Martini, then make all the Best Types of Martinis
- Margarita: Try the Classic Margarita, then make all the Best Margarita Recipes
More about these classic whiskey cocktails: the Manhattan vs Old Fashioned!Print
Black Manhattan (& Popular Variations!)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Try the Black Manhattan cocktail! This recipe swaps in Italian amaro for a drink that’s even more sophisticated—and tasty—than the original. Or, try all the other variations above.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon or rye whiskey
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Italian amaro, like Averna
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- For the garnish: Cocktail cherry or Luxardo cherry
- Combine the whiskey, amaro 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.
- Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Manhattan variations