Exploring Manhattans

Tonight I had a hankering for a Manhattan, but wanted to play around with the classic 2-1-2 recipe for the drink. Spotting the bottle of the Amaro di Angostura on my shelf brought up memories of the Murray's Manhattan that Dana Hanna introduced me to a few years back. I decided to play around with that, to see what would happen.

The result is a nice, bitter-forward cocktail with the maple and vanilla notes of the bourbon being pretty much overwhelmed by the bitter, chocolate, and cinnamon of the amaro and bitters. The vermouth is there, mellowing the mix, but otherwise pretty much fading into the background.

When I repeat this one, I'll likely not add any additional bitters to the mix, as I think the Amaro di Angostura does an admirable job of filling that roll. Also, I'd use an orange twist (or flame an orange peel over it) as the garnish; it needs a note of citrus to brighten it up. This is a warm drink, one that would be perfect for a crisp fall evening (or a nice August evening in San Francisco.)


I split the traditional amount of vermouth between the amaro and vermouth in this one, to stick with the classic recipe while giving it a twist.


  • 2 oz. Bourbon (I used Angel's Envy here.)
  • 1/2 oz Amaro di Angostura
  • 1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula)
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters (I thought using Angostura bitters might be gilding the lily here)


  1. Combine ingredients in a mxing glass, add ice, and stir to chill, about 15 seconds
  2. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass
  3. If I were you, I'd flame an orange peel over this one for the garnish