Recipe: Manhattan Transfer

Recipe: Manhattan Transfer

If you happen to be a whiskey drinker, like me, you probably love a good Manhattan. But as a whiskey-lover, I have a hard time sticking to just one brand or type of whiskey, and that translates to my Manhattans, too. I’m always looking for new and different variations. The Manhattan Transfer is my latest discovery.

The recipe I found was adapted from one created by Phil Ward at Mayahuel in New York, and I tweaked it a little myself. I cut the proportions of sweet vermouth, a traditional Manhattan component, in favor of a larger amount of Ramazzotti, an incredible amaro with loads of dark baking spices that perfectly complement a good whiskey (the proportions of which I also tend to increase). The original recipe calls for rye, but I personally think a high-rye bourbon works well, too, and make sure it’s over 100 proof to stand up to the sweetness of the amaro and vermouth. Probably my favorite iteration uses Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend, which I’m sure sounds sacrilegious to most whiskey purists. Not all cocktails have to be made with bottom shelf mixing bourbon, people, although that would work fine in this one, too. Finally, a dash of good orange bitters (I use Regans’) helps to balance all those dark, sweet spices with a bit of bright citrus. Enjoy!

Manhattan Transfer
1½ oz. whiskey (bourbon or rye, preferably 100 proof)
½ oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Ramazzotti amaro
1 dash orange bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a good cocktail cherry.

Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

1 Comment

  1. Shawn C on October 11, 2022 at 3:11 am

    According to Difford’s Guide the Manhattan Transfer is a riff on the dry Manhattan, and uses dry vermouth rather than sweet vermouth. I don’t have the original book source (yet) for this Phil Ward cocktail to identify the original call outs, but dry vermouth appears to be correct based on other descriptions.

    I haven’t tried your sweet vermouth variant yet, but perhaps it is worthy of its own distinctive name? The original Manhattan Transfer with rye tends toward the pleasant side of semi-sweet/semi dry when using 1 oz Noilly Prat Extra Dry. Noilly has supposedly been reformulated to a drier recipe in recent years and the standard “dry” has disappeared from what I see, so the drink might not match the original even if Noilly proves to be the specified vermouth. When I think it will matter I use Dolin Dry.

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