Tequila Manhattan Recipe (Delicious Twist)

Tequila and sweet vermouth come together for a tasteful and sophisticated take on the classic cocktail.

Tequila Manhattan Recipe (Delicious Twist) front shot

When I think of a Manhattan, my mind naturally wanders to the city itself, soaked in rain and unsolved mysteries… a lone, haggard detective sits at the back of a dark, low-lit dive bar, his shoulders slumped over as he nurses a concoction made of bourbon or rye, mixed with sweet vermouth and a dash of bitters… the classic Manhattan. Its a drink that’s been around since the 1880’s, created in the city that bears its name. How could any other version of this cocktail stand up to this tried and true legend?

Amanda Swanson is a tequila sommelier, which simply put means she’s an expert. At her home bar of Anejo Tribeca in the city of Manhattan, she created a tasty and worthy variation of the classic drink on its home turf. Swapping out aged tequila for the rye or bourbon, Swanson managed to concoct a drink that was different enough from the original, yet still retained a lot of what makes a Manhattan what it is… golden brown with hints of caramel and toffee, and instead of the bite of the original drink, the tequila in this version brings with it the sweeter flavor of agave.

The Tequila Manhattan, sometimes called Distrito Federal after Mexico City, is a drink to savor and sip. Whenever you find yourself in a darkened bar, sitting toward the back, deep in a leather bound booth, ask your bartender to whip up one of these. Especially after you’ve had a filling and hearty meal. Relax with one or two of these cocktails and your troubles will melt away for the night.

If you tried and liked the Tequila Manhattan and have never had the original, today is a perfect day to have one! And we here at Twist and Toast have the recipe for you to try out the Manhattan Drink.

What kind of bitters should you use?

Angostura Bitters is a mainstay ingredient in a remarkable number of cocktails, and the Tequila Manhattan is no different. Our recipe calls for a few dashes of it, and I always have a bottle handy in the cupboard for whatever drink I feel like making. I’ve discovered, regarding the Tequila Manhattan, that a few dashes of mole bitters mixes extremely well with this version of the drink. Angostura (whose recipe is a secret) brings more of a bitter, clove type flavor to the drink, while the mole adds more subtle tastes of chocolate and cinnamon, matching perfectly with the tequila.

What is the best tequila for this cocktail?

A reposado tequila, which is usually aged anywhere from two to twelve months in oak barrels, is an excellent choice to mix your Tequila Manhattans with. The cocktail’s creator herself, Amanda Swanson, has her own preferred brand… Riazul Anejo. This tequila spends two years in Cognac aged barrels, lending a sweetness that’s not too far removed from a rye or bourbon, and mixing beautifully with the vermouth.

Tequila Manhattan Recipe (Delicious Twist) ingredients top shot
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 2 ounces of tequila
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry for garnish


  • In a mixing glass, combine your tequila, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. Stir these together, ensuring they’re fully mixed.
  • Fill a coupe or martini glass with ice to chill it while you’re mixing the drink.
  • Strain the mixture into your chilled glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry on top.


Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0.03g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.04mg

FAQs & Tips

Tequila Manhattan Variations

Did you try and love the Tequila Manhattan? Of course you did! Do you want other cocktails that are similar to it? Of course you do!

  • The classic, original Manhattan – This is a good place to start, and just as simple and easy to make. Instead of tequila, get a nice rye or bourbon to stir in. See our recipe link mentioned earlier.
  • A “Reverse” Manhattan – just like the name implies, this cocktail has the same ingredients as a classic Manhattan, except the ratios of the rye/bourbon are switched with the vermouth’s, making for a lighter drink.
  • A “Perfect” Manhattan – choosing between a sweet or dry vermouth? Use both in this recipe.
  • A “Rob Roy” – use a Scotch whiskey in place of the rye/bourbon and you have a drink worthy of a Scottish hero!

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