Black Manhattan Cocktail

Many will agree there are few things greater than a well-made Manhattan cocktail. Slightly sweet and wholly seductive, they go down easy, which is both good and bad since they’re seriously potent. Still, everyone should know how to make a great gluten free Manhattan, and our friend and famed Bay Area bartender Jeff Burkhart shows you how it’s done.

But wait! Manhattans use whiskey. How can they be GF, you wonder? Here’s how: It’s widely agreed that grain alcohol’s distillation process eliminates any reaction-causing proteins found in gluten, so distilled alcohol is considered GF. The exception is when additional ingredients containing gluten have been added after the fact, which can be the case with flavored or blended spirits. Our advice? If you’re unsure, research before you revel.  

Black Manhattan Cocktail

To get the fancy look of the cherry frozen in the ice cube requires you freeze the cherry in an ice cube tray with water before you make this drink. (Obviously, you will want to make a batch of these, rather than one, if you are including this step.) Too impatient (we know the feeling)? Skip the process, put a cherry in the bottom of the glass before you add the cocktail, carry on with the recipe, then drink up!

Servings 1


  • 6 all-natural maraschino cherry with stem
  • 2 ounces good rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce amaro an Italian digestif; try Averna Amaro or Fernet Branca


  1. Place the maraschino cherry in an ice cube tray with water and freeze it.

  2. Place the ice cube in the bottom of a double old fashioned glass. Combine the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and amaro in a mixing glass with ice. Strain it over the cherry ice cube and serve.

Photo Maren Caruso

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.