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Tequila Manhattan

The Tequila Manhattan, also recognized as the Distrito Federal, introduces a captivating twist to the classic cocktail. The allure lies in the substitution of whiskey with tequila, crafting a beverage that dances between realms of sweet, spicy, and intricately layered flavors. Traditionally, the Manhattan is made with American whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

tequila manhattan

What sets the Tequila Manhattan apart is its unique fusion of elements. The distinctive character of tequila, marked by its nuanced flavors derived from agave, imparts a sophisticated depth to this cocktail. It’s a tantalizing journey for the palate, where the interplay of smokiness, herbal tones, and a hint of sweetness elevates the experience to a realm that’s both enticingly familiar and intriguingly novel.

The marriage of tequila with the classic Manhattan components creates a vibrant symphony, offering an intoxicating balance that embodies the duality of tradition and innovation. The Tequila Manhattan, with its sweet, spicy, and complex profile, stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of mixology, enticing enthusiasts to savor a captivating new expression of a timeless classic.


The Tequila Manhattan is a twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, which was invented in New York City around 1880. The Manhattan quickly became one of the most popular cocktails in the country, eventually making its way around the world. 

The tequila Manhattan replaces the whiskey with tequila, a spirit that is distilled from the blue agave plant and is primarily produced in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila has a distinct flavor profile that includes notes of earthiness, fruit, and spice, which makes it a unique and flavorful base for the Manhattan.

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The Tequila Manhattan is commonly made with añejo tequila, which is aged in oak barrels for at least one year, giving it a rich and complex flavor that is similar to bourbon or cognac. However, it can also be made with other types of tequila, such as reposado or blanco, depending on personal preference.

The Tequila Manhattan has also become popular in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, where bartenders have been experimenting with new ways to use tequila in classic cocktails. In Mexico City, the Tequila Manhattan is often made with local tequila brands and is served alongside traditional Mexican dishes.

How to Make It

tequila manhattan

Tequila Manhattan

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Making a Tequila Manhattan is a simple process that requires a few key ingredients and tools.

Here's how you can make it at home:


  • 2 oz of añejo or reposado tequila
  • 1 oz of sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry or orange or lime twist


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Pour 2 oz of añejo or reposado tequila, 1 oz of sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters into the mixing glass.
  3. Stir the ingredients with a bar spoon until they are well-chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or an orange twist.

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If you’re a fan of the classic Manhattan cocktail but want to switch things up, the Tequila Manhattan is a great option to try. However, there are also many other variations of the Manhattan that you can experiment with to find your perfect drink.

Classic Manhattan

The classic Manhattan cocktail is made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and aromatic bitters. This simple yet sophisticated cocktail is a timeless classic that has been enjoyed for over a century.

Perfect Manhattan

The Perfect Manhattan is a version that calls for both sweet and dry vermouth, creating a more complex flavor profile. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy a drier cocktail.

Añejo Manhattan

The Añejo Manhattan is a variation that uses añejo tequila instead of whiskey and adds a touch of cognac for added complexity. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy a smooth and sophisticated cocktail with spice notes.

Other Variations

There are many other variations of the Manhattan cocktail that you can experiment with, such as using rye whiskey instead of bourbon, or adding different types of bitters for added complexity. Some recipes even swap out the type of whiskey or play around with different styles of vermouth, while others introduce entirely new flavors that stretch the definition of what a Manhattan really is.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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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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