The Rustic Manhattan

Robert Watrous' The Rustic Manhattan Cocktail

Robert Watrous

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The sweet taste of apples and raspberries come together in the rustic Manhattan. It is a simple variation on the Manhattan and a spectacular cocktail you'll definitely want to try. The beautiful fruity flavor is a nice bridge for the gap between summer and autumn, though it's wonderful year-round.

This recipe was created by Robert Watrous of San Diego, California and it is a fresh twist on the popular Manhattan. All of the original ingredients were sourced from New York State, which is rather appropriate. And, you're sure to enjoy the fruit undertones that add a little more dimension to a very familiar cocktail.


  • 2 ounces ​apple whiskey ​(Leopold Bros.)
  • 1/2 ounce raspberry vermouth
  • 2 dashes​ ​bitters (Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters)
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry
  • Garnish: apple slices

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.

  3. Garnish with a fan of apple slices and a maraschino cherry.

  4. Serve and enjoy!


  • Anytime you're garnishing with cut apples, dip them in lemon juice immediately after slicing them. This will prevent the flesh from turning brown as it is exposed to oxygen and ensure your cocktail looks fabulous while you enjoy it.
  • This recipe was originally made with Uncouth Vermouth Wild Raspberry, but the company has since closed. It's unlikely that you'll find a commercially available substitute, though dry vermouth will do just fine in the recipe. Muddle a few raspberries before adding the other ingredients to bring that flavor back.
  • You can make your own raspberry-infused vermouth as a substitute. The sweet taste of raspberries is perfect for a dry vermouth base and the infusion should take about one week, though you will want to test its taste periodically. Be sure to use a fine strainer or double strain it to ensure you remove all the tiny seeds.

The Whiskey

Leopold Bros. New York Apple Whiskey is one of the best apple whiskeys produced today. It is made with all natural ingredients from real New York State apples and has an amazing flavor that is perfect for mixing into cocktails. It is a 40 percent ABV (80 proof) whiskey. You can find it at a number of retailers, both online and off.

If you are looking for a substitute, proceed with caution. The flavored whiskey market is littered with whiskeys that are not of the same caliber. They may either be too sweet or unnaturally flavored and more like a liqueur than a whiskey. This cocktail deserves a true apple whiskey and it would be best to avoid the likes of Jim Beam Apple in this instance.

DIY Apple Whiskey

Another option that ensures you get a great naturally flavored apple whiskey is to infuse it yourself. You can choose any whiskey you like, though it would be best with one that is smooth and not too robust so the apple flavor can shine. Good candidates would be a blended whiskey, like those from Canada, any softer bourbons, or even an Irish whiskey like Jameson.

For whiskey, red apples would be a good choice. Cut them into chunks or wedges so they fit inside your infusion container. The apple infusion should take about one week, after which you'll want to taste it to see if the flavor has reached your desired intensity. Go longer if you like, testing it again every couple days. 

How Strong Is a Rustic Manhattan?

The rustic Manhattan is comparable in strength to other variations on the Manhattan. With the suggested whiskey and regular dry vermouth, it shakes up to an alcohol content around 22 percent ABV (44 proof).