Here are the most popular Manhattan variations! Try them all, swapping out the rye whiskey for bourbon, Scotch, brandy and more.

Manhattan variations

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.

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:

More about these classic whiskey cocktails: the Manhattan vs Old Fashioned!

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Manhattan variations

Black Manhattan (& Popular Variations!)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Manhattan variations

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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