Just because the classic brown-spirit cocktail is always stirred doesn’t mean it has to be strong. Manhattans that switch the amounts of whiskey and vermouth flaunt all of the flavor without the heady proof. And the Reverse Manhattan itself is nothing new: 19th-century cocktail lovers would likely have just called it a Manhattan, as cocktail historians say vermouth was featured more prominently in drinks back then, including in the whiskey classic.
Today, the Reverse Manhattan is a bartender favorite and a formula ripe for experimentation. You can infuse your spirit component, swap amaro for vermouth or dose your cocktail with a liqueur to upend the familiar flavor profile. Max Green—the head bartender at New York City’s famed Amor y Amargo and managing partner at Blue Quarter in the East Village—created this reverse Manhattan so guests at a weekly three-cocktail event called Two Weeks Notice could leave happily buzzed, not boozed. “Flipping that vermouth and whiskey ratio can really save you,” he says. Sancho-pepper-infused whiskey adds spice and bright citrus notes that are pulled together by lime bitters.
Normally with a Manhattan, the vermouth is up to the maker’s choice. But in the Diamond District, it’s important to stick with the specified Carpano Antica Formula—this rich, botanical and nuanced vermouth defines the flavor profile of the drink, and while there are plenty of quality vermouths out there, the pairing in this was particular. Similarly, the lime bitters should not be substituted, as they bring a brightness to the otherwise very rich drink, and pair nicely with the peppers in the infused rye whiskey.
- 2 ounces Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
- 1 ounce sancho pepper-infused Wild Turkey 101 rye whiskey*
- 2 dashes Scrappy’s lime bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, sancho-pepper infused rye whiskey and Scrappy’s lime bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Sancho-pepper-infused Wild Turkey 101 rye whiskey: Infuse 4 grams of sancho peppers in a 750-milliliter bottle of Wild Turkey 101 rye whiskey for 1 hour. Strain out solids and adjust with more rye if necessary for desired taste.