Black Manhattan


Chilly nights beg for a spiced cocktail — something dark, deep and a little sexy. Enter the Black Manhattan, I like to think of it as a Manhattan’s hot Italian cousin.

I hosted a fun cocktail class last week and this Black Manhattan was the surprise hit of the evening. Whiskey drinks are often a little hardcore for my palate, but mixed with Amaro Averna, a dash of classic bitters and Luxardo cherries this is delightful and drinkable.

fall cocktail

One night in Tuscany (honest, this ends clean) a large selection of Italian liquors were brought out to mix and make cocktails. The Amaro Averna instantly caught my attention – I knew about it, but I’d never tried it.  Botanical based, Amaro Averna is made with roots and herbs and tastes like the smell of a clove-studded orange. How have I not had this in my life before?

perfect fall cocktail

Thankfully, you can find Amaro Averna at BevMo! along with the Luxardo Maraschino Cherries. These cherries are a radical upgrade from any cherry you’ve ever had – ever.  Another discovery was my new favorite bourbon, WL Weller, thanks for the recommendation, Peter! Ingredients matter just as much in cocktails as they do with food. It’s pretty simple, seek out the best ingredients and you’ll make the best drinks.

Black Manhattan in Shaker

The flavors come together in such a satisfying, spicy way that make it the perfect combination for cozying up to the fire after a hefty holiday dinner…or as a welcome drink to hand your guests when they arrive out of the bitter Santa Barbara cold. Beginning or ending the night with a hot Italian is usually a good way to go. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!! Cheers!

Black Manhattan Martini

Black Manhattan

One serving


2 ounces WL Weller 

1 1/2 ounce Averna Amaro

1 dash bitters

Luxardo Maraschino cherries (garnish)


Place ice in a small pitcher and add ingredients. Stir and strain or feel free to place ingredients in a shaker and pour into a small martini glass. Garnish with cherries. Serve.

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8 thoughts on “Black Manhattan”

When I saw this on Instagram I wondered if the ‘black’ was Averna… Great! Love it, need those cherries now…

A great new way to enjoy my new favorite bourbon/Amaro combination! Reminds me of a wonderful drink at my favorite restaurant, called a Cigar Room: 1 1/2 oz. each bourbon & Grand Marnier, 2 1/2 oz. Amaro Averna. Swill a splash of tawny port around the glass and dump in the shaker. Shake well and serve .with a garnish of flamed orange rind.

I have never heard about Averna and was reading about it the other day, and now see this recipe. Thanks for mentioning the liquors are at BevMo. I am going to try this!

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