The Manhattan, featuring American whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, was invented in New York around 1880. It quickly became one of the most popular cocktails in the country, eventually making its way around the world. Over the decades, creative bartenders found countless ways to vary the classic, experimenting with different spirits and fortified wines to create new versions that paid homage to the original.
The Distrito Federal, also known as the Tequila Manhattan, is one such drink. Named for Mexico City, the cocktail is an aged-tequila twist on the standard that features reposado tequila, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.
Reposado tequilas are aged in oak barrels for at least two months and up to one year. They’re often matured in used whiskey barrels, which lend whiskey-like notes of vanilla, caramel and baking spices to the spirit. So the Tequila Manhattan hews closely to the original cocktail in that regard. Stir the ingredients with ice, and add a lime twist garnish to complement the tequila. It’s an easy cocktail to make at home the next time you want a Manhattan—but not the same Manhattan you’ve been drinking for years.
2 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: lime twist
Garnish: cocktail cherry (optional)
Add the tequila, sweet vermouth and orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lime twist and an optional cherry.
Manhattan: The classic recipe featuring bourbon or rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and aromatic bitters.
Reverse Manhattan: A lighter take on the classic that swaps the whiskey and vermouth ratios.
Perfect Manhattan: A version that calls for both sweet and dry vermouth.
Rob Roy: A Manhattan variation featuring scotch instead of American whiskey.