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Aperol Manhattan to Cure What Ails You (AKA Little Italy)

4.67 from 3 votes

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Aperol Manhattan - Little Italy in a coupe glass with a cherry garnish
Aperol Manhattan

Try this easy, spirit-forward, three-ingredient cocktail for a fast and approachable cocktail – the Aperol Manhattan, also known as the Little Italy.

Reaching for Aperol instead of amaro in this riff of a riff (a riff of a Black Manhattan) adds citrus flavors and robust bitterness to the cocktail. Topping the cocktail with floral Montenegro amaro adds some balanced woodiness and vegetal notes underneath the florals and citrus.

When I created this cocktail I had no idea it was already a classic, but its simple and available three ingredients plus delicious bittersweet flavor make it obvious why.

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What is a Manhattan?

French Quarter Manhattan in a coupe glass with an orange garnish and cocktail pick with cherries

A Manhattan is a classic whiskey cocktail with just three ingredients: whiskey (usually bourbon or rye), sweet vermouth and bitters. While the ratio of whiskey vermouth varies by each particular drinker’s preference, (much like the martini) you’ll find enthusiasts using anything from 2:1 whiskey to vermouth to a much drier 5:1.

To learn more about the Manhattan, head over to

What Is A Little Italy?

A classic Little Italy was created by Audrey Saunders in 2005 at the famed Pegu Club and included Cynar (an artichoke-based amaro), rye whiskey and sweet vermouth. It’s a perfect balance of rye spice and sweetness from the vermouth as well as the bittersweet and vegetal flavors from the Cynar.

Riffing on the Black Manhattan and the Little Italy with the Aperol Manhattan

Aperol Manhattan - Little Italy in a coupe glass with a cherry garnish
Aperol Manhattan

When I put together this cocktail today I hadn’t yet experienced the Little Italy cocktail out and about. But, as soon as I search for it on the interwebs, the Little Italy cocktail name and specs popped up.

The original Little Italy did not include Aperol, but since I wanted to use a citrus-heavy bourbon, I paired the Elijah Craig bourbon with Aperol’s grapefruit, orange and lemon notes. 

I decided to add in Montenegro because it was floral and had that same citrus underpinning on the nose. It was the right choice for this combination of elements.

Using Cynar would have darkened the color of the cocktail and flavor. I preferred the floral/citrus pairing from using the Montenegro Amaro. 

How to Make an Aperol Manhattan

Aperol Manhattan - Little Italy in a coupe glass with a cherry garnish
Aperol Manhattan

The classic Manhattan is fast and easy – with just three ingredients, whiskey, vermouth and bitters, it’s a quick stir over ice in mixing glass into a chilled and prepped coupe glass. The Aperol Manhattan is no different, except with specs closer to a Black Manhattan, the bitters are replaced with amaro – and in this case, two types: Aperol and Montenegro.

Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy

Aperol Manhattan - Little Italy in a coupe glass with a cherry garnish
Aperol Manhattan

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Aperol Manhattan - Little Italy in a coupe glass with a cherry garnish

Aperol Manhattan (Little Italy riff)

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Get your Summer Manhattan in shape with this easy citrus and amaro-forward Aperol Manhattan. With just three ingredients it’s fast, simple and a complex delight.
4.67 from 3 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • ½ oz Montenegro amaro
  • Garnish: cherries

Instructions
 

  • Combine bourbon, Aperol and amaro in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir for 30 seconds or until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with cherries.
Keyword amaro, aperol, black manhattan, manhattan, montenegro
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By on July 21st, 2021
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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