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Reverse Manhattan

A Reverse Manhattan cocktail stands as an inventive twist on the classic, introducing a delightful shift in taste dynamics. Unlike its traditional counterpart, this modern rendition reverses the whiskey-to-vermouth ratio, resulting in a complex interplay of sweetness and spiciness.

reverse manhattan cocktail with maraschino cherry

What sets the Reverse Manhattan apart is its dynamic flavor profile. The recalibration of whiskey and vermouth brings forth a symphony of flavors—a luscious interplay between the robust, spiced notes of rye whiskey and the harmonious sweetness of the vermouth. 

The cocktail’s adaptability has earned it a special place among mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts. Its versatile nature invites experimentation, from exploring different spirits to venturing into creative substitutes like amaro for vermouth. Whether you’re curating a sophisticated cocktail soirée or simply seeking an exciting twist, the Reverse Manhattan promises to captivate and leave a lasting impression with its innovative flavor profile.

History

The Reverse Manhattan is a classic cocktail that has been delighting taste buds for decades. This sophisticated drink is a unique twist on the traditional Manhattan, offering a delightful flavor profile that is sure to please even the most discerning palates.

The Manhattan cocktail is believed to have originated in New York City’s Manhattan Club around 1880. It quickly became one of America’s most popular drinks, and it’s easy to see why. The timeless mix of American whiskey and Italian vermouth, accented with a couple dashes of bitters, is well-balanced and tasty.

The Reverse Manhattan is a variation of the original Manhattan cocktail, with the proportions of sweet vermouth and rye whiskey reversed. The cocktail historians believe that the Reverse Manhattan was created in the mid-to-late 1800s, around the same time as the original Manhattan.

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The Reverse Manhattan is a perfect drink for those who prefer a less boozy cocktail. The sweet vermouth takes center stage in this cocktail, with the rye whiskey playing a supporting role. The cocktail is garnished with a cherry, which adds a touch of sweetness and color to the drink.

How to Make It

reverse manhattan cocktail with maraschino cherry

Reverse Manhattan

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Rye whiskey
  • 2 oz Sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Maraschino cherry (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the sweet vermouth, rye whiskey, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
  2. Stir the mixture thoroughly until it reaches a well-chilled state, ensuring the flavors meld beautifully.
  3. Take a chilled cocktail glass and strain the concoction into it. The Reverse Manhattan is traditionally served "straight up," without ice.
  4. For garnish, drop in a maraschino cherry to add a vibrant pop of color and a hint of complementary flavor.
  5. If desired, feel free to explore other garnish options such as a twist of lemon or a sprig of fresh herbs to impart your unique twist to this timeless cocktail.

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Variations

Reverse Perfect Manhattan

This variant swaps the typical vermouth ratios found in a Perfect Manhattan. Instead of using equal parts of sweet and dry vermouth with whiskey, it switches the proportions. Embrace the boldness of more sweet vermouth and a touch of dry vermouth, complemented by whiskey or rye, delivering a nuanced yet distinct twist.

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Reverse Rob Roy

A Reverse Rob Roy mirrors the classic Rob Roy in reverse. Here, the recipe twists the traditional Rob Roy’s vermouth proportions, leaning into a greater presence of sweet vermouth. This variation highlights the robust sweetness of the vermouth against the whiskey or scotch base.

Reverse Black Manhattan

Inspired by the Black Manhattan, this iteration plays with the vermouth balance, reversing the typical ratios. By accentuating the sweet vermouth and reducing the quantity of herbal or spicy vermouth, it offers a unique play on flavors, enhancing the cocktail’s complexity.

Reverse Perfect Rob Roy

Similar to the Reverse Perfect Manhattan, this version of the Rob Roy elevates the sweet vermouth, altering the balance from the traditional recipe. This variation brings forth a more pronounced sweetness, creating a harmonious interplay with the whiskey or scotch.

Reverse Improved Manhattan

Borrowing from the Improved Manhattan, this variation reverses the vermouth ratios. It accentuates the sweet vermouth, allowing it to shine alongside the bitters and maraschino liqueur, creating a heightened sweetness that contrasts beautifully with the whiskey.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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