Reverse Manhattan Cocktail Header

Reverse Manhattan – The Perfect Second & Third Drink

In Cocktails by Thomas Fondano3 Comments

I love cocktails. Happy hour is 5 pm daily at our house, usually two rounds. I love Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but two high-proof cocktails before dinner can be a bit much. As I get older happy hour seems to get shorter.

I love sweet vermouth. (You can learn more about vermouth in Amaro, which I have reviewed for you or visit Some people say they don’t like sweet vermouth. These people are wrong. Vermouth is wine and you need to treat it that way. You wouldn’t leave an open bottle of wine in the back of your cupboard for a year and expect it to be good, would you? No. Refrigerate after opening and use within a couple weeks.

When I reviewed The Manhattan, I noticed that many of the earliest recipes were two parts vermouth to one part whiskey. It was popular that way for some time, so I figured it must have some merit. Nowadays we call that the Reverse Manhattan and it’s my new favorite second drink. It also sometimes makes an appearance as a third drink.

Reverse Manhattan

  • 2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • Orange or lemon peel

Stir vermouth, whiskey, and bitters with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass OR build in a double old fashioned glass with ice. Twist lemon or orange peel to express oils over the drink and garnish.

I prefer this on a large cube; sometimes I just re-use the ice from an old fashioned. As I said it’s an ideal a second drink. I’ll leave the whiskey to you. Use what you would normally use in a Manhattan. Regarding the vermouth, I personally prefer the brighter notes of Dolin Rouge or Cinzano Rosso. If you’re a Carpano Antica Formula or nothing kind of drinker, have at it. Still works. Enjoy.

About the Author
Thomas Fondano

Thomas Fondano

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Thomas Fondano has been drinking bourbon and trying every bottling he can get his hands on since last century. While he enjoys all types of whiskeys, bourbon remains his go-to whenever he says, “I need a drink.” He lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Oregon where he makes cocktails every day at 5pm. Read Thomas' full profile.


  1. Avatar

    Also from the Portland area but in Yuma AZ for the winter. Favorite bourbon is Evan Williams, love an Old Fashioned or straight over a big cube with just a splash of non-tap water. Also enjoy 5pm happy hour, usual limit at 2. Very interesting site, will try the reverse Manhattan. Look forward to many more recipes! Thanx for a great site!

    John Kaiser, PDX, Salem, Yuma

  2. Avatar

    I like the suggestion for my favorite cocktail and will try the Reverse tomorrow.

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