"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Manhattan with a twist – The Bittersweet

by Julie on February 9, 2015

in Libations

Manhattan with Averna bitters

The Bittersweet

Helen of Troy got nothin’ on me. She might have launched a thousand ships. But I launched a cocktail.

So nyaaa….

OK let’s back up. When searching for the perfect cocktail for my birthday recently, Chef San Diego couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for. So he did what most chefs do – he stole and altered.

The result is my favorite drink EVAH. And I say that as not a cocktail gal

Of the chef, this must be said: he is a purist when it comes to cocktails. He was a bartender through college, and to this day has a thing for high end whiskey and artisinal bitters. He will proudly tell anyone who doesn’t ask that he first learned to mix a Manhattan at the age of 10. He has passed this skill down to his teenage daughter, who will surely put it to good use herself through college.

So it was with serious intent that he investigated the particular tipple to go with my birthday menu. He searched for something that would go with my Mediterranean dinner flavor profile. He came up with two options:

One was for the Black Manhattan, which substitutes Averna  for the sweet vermouth in the recipe. He found it too bitter.

The second was the Boulevardier which substituted Campari for half the sweet vermouth…apologies to Negroni lovers…nasty bitter aftertaste!


So he concocted this. Called the Bittersweet.
(What follows is a ratio recipe…assume about 4 fl oz for a single cocktail.)

4 parts Rye (options listed below)
1 part Sweet Vermouth (options listed below)
1 part Averna Amaro
2 dash bitters (options listed below)


Pour rye, vermouth, Averna and bitters over cracked ice in a cocktail mixer (glass or stainless fine) Stir until container is chilled. Strain (using Hawthorne strainer) into a chilled Martini or Coupe glass, and garnish with the cherry.
Straight preferred.
George Dickel


If necessary, straight Bourbon can be used.
Try one of these:

Buffalo Trace
Four Roses


Sweet Vermouth:
Martini: moderate cost
Noilly Prat – higher cost
Carpano Antica – what time should I come over!
Angostura – traditional, and great for cooking!
Peychaud – basic in most nice bars
Fee Brothers Old Fashioned
Any type of orange bitters works nice.


Is this dangerously delicious? Try it tonight, and you tell me.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bonnie McCarthy February 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm

You are such an amazing writer!! Drink sounds amazing!! Cheers to a great yer ahead! Happy birthday!!


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