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Put Tequila in Your Manhattan, Feel Like You're Breaking All The Rules

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Our makers are what bring the Food52 Shop to life, so we partnered with Roca Patrón to feature cocktails we love alongside exclusive products we've created with our makers—like these schmancy glasses. Check out their stories (and products!) here.

A Manhattan is the drink that's not usually far behind after I've dropped my bag on the couch. I'm a creature of habit, so it feels ritualistic to pull out the mixing glass and strainer, a couple spirits, go for 30 turns with the barspoon, and then have a drink in hand that's better—so simple, so classic—than most you can get at a bar.

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Tequila Manhattan
Tequila Manhattan

It's a cocktail people have been drinking since the late 1800s. A 2-to-1 punch of whiskey to vermouth, plus a few dashes of bitters, it came about after New York bartenders started adding vermouth to the original mixture of whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters. It's a wonderful, richly-layered ruby-brown color, all oscillating around an orb-like cocktail cherry and maybe a little lemon peel for extra measure. It's relaxing just to look at.

While often made with rye whiskey, I've been mixing mine with añejo tequila lately—the aged, vanilla-laden spirit (and it's signature bite) delivers something complex and deep to a Manhattan. It's just the right pivot during the winter months—an ounce and a half of tequila, mixed with my preferred sweet vermouth Carpano Antica, and a few dashes of bitters, stirred and served up with a Luxardo cherry (or your own, perhaps).

Cocktail Cherries
Cocktail Cherries

A note on bitters: While you can always use Angostura for a lighter take, I like my Tequila Manhattan with other flavors—chocolate and mole, specifically.

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Tequila Manhattan

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Makes 1
  • 1.5 ounces Roca Patrón Añejo tequila
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 or 2 dashes mole or chocolate bitters
  • Luxardo maraschino cherry, to garnish
  • Lemon zest, to garnish (optional)

Roca Patrón Añejo tequila is crafted using Weber Blue Agave and the age-old 'tahona' method, where you crush the agave with a 2-ton rock (!). See all their styles, from silver to añejo, here.

Tags: patron, malfatti, glasses, tequila