Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Vodka Cocktails


Gotham cocktail in a coupe glass with a skewered cherry balanced on the rim
Image: / Tim Nusog

Dating back to the late 1800s, the Manhattan is one of the world’s most popular cocktails. Composed of American whiskey, sweet vermouth and aromatic bitters, it’s spirit-forward but well-balanced, and it has graced bar menus and home bars since its inception. That pedigree and continued success haven’t kept bartenders from tinkering with the formula, however, which is great news for drinkers. Today, there are countless riffs on the classic recipe, from simple variations that swap out the base spirit or vermouth to complex variations that channel the original’s character but feature a slew of different ingredients.

One liberal variation is the Gotham, a Manhattan-inspired concoction from Julie Reiner, the co-owner of pioneering New York bars Clover Club and Leyenda. She skips whiskey entirely, choosing to make the drink with vodka, rosa vermouth, amaro and orange bitters.

Vodka is a relatively neutral spirit that lets a cocktail’s other flavors shine. Reiner’s drink calls for Hangar 1, a California vodka made from wheat and grapes. It’s fresh and floral, with notes of honeysuckle and pear, and it has a silky mouthfeel that doesn’t get lost in the glass. Rather than sweet vermouth, which could overpower the vodka, Reiner enlists Cocchi Rosa, a red wine-based aperitif that is flavored with herbs and spices, including gentian, cinchona, citrus zest and rose petals.

Next up is Ramazzotti, which may be the world’s oldest commercially made amaro. It was invented in 1815 by a Milanese herbalist from a mix of 33 herbs, flowers, roots and other botanicals. Flavors include Sicilian oranges, turmeric, star anise, rosemary and gentian. It’s bittersweet and lively on the palate, adding rounded notes to the cocktail that pair nicely with the vodka and vermouth. Finally, two dashes of orange bitters complete the package with additional complexity and structure, plus a hint of zesty citrus.

The Gotham cocktail isn’t the Manhattan most drinkers are used to. At first glance, it doesn’t even resemble the classic. But dive into the layers of vodka, vermouth and amaro and you get a spirit-forward, well-balanced drink that nods to the original. And, most important, you get a tasty cocktail that embodies the fun you can have by stepping outside the box and breaking some rules.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Hangar 1 Straight vodka

  • 1 1/2 ounces Cocchi Americano Rosa vermouth

  • 1/4 ounce Ramazzotti amaro

  • 2 dashes orange bitters

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add the vodka, vermouth, amaro and orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a coupe glass.

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.