A Spicy Perspective

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail – Sweet and spicy and bursting with warm flavors, this Manhattan Cocktail Recipe is perfect for your holiday parties!
Spiced Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #cocktails #holiday

Lieutenant Dan here.

As I thought about what to write about this month, I couldn’t help but consider things I was thankful for. This time of year tends to bring out the grateful gene in all of us – which causes us to ponder the many blessings in our life.

Far and away the greatest blessing for me would be the friendships I have been fortunate to have through the years.

Thank You for Being a Friend

How we meet people can be quite humorous.

Think back to how you met some of the closest people in your life… Was it from where you grew up? How about high school or college? Maybe it was at church or in a business deal.

What was the spark that started that first conversation?

A similar sports team, a hobby or some other shared interest. There are untold ways that people connect that first time.

For some reason, some of my longest and most lasting relationships were formed discussing libations – imagine that! Some examples that come to mind:

Chuck: Been friends for over 13 years. We’ve run races together, moved across the country together (he moved back), seen our kids grow up together, changed occupations a few times together, etc… Our first conversation started with him discussing some new wine he had tried that weekend. Of course that caught my attention – 13 years later we’re still close friends (and have drank a fair bit of wine together over the years).

Meherwan: Friends for nearly 8 years. How did we meet? Scotch

I overheard him talking about paying $40 in San Francisco for a shot of Johnny Blue – he just had to try it. Obviously that caught my attention and now 8 years later we have worked together numerous times and our families have stayed close friends.

He showed me the original business plans for a new restaurant concept he thought up years ago called Chai Pani and now he is an enormously successful restaurateur with Chai Pani Asheville, MG Road (a killer bar I am involved with) and Chai Pani Decatur. (See www.chaipani.net.)

I feel honored to know him and his family. And it all started because of a simple conversation about scotch (and now many years later several actual bottles of scotch – McCallan 18 being his favorite and Dalwhinnie 15, mine).

Get the Full Recipe for How to Make a Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Below!

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

Cheers! With a Celebratory Holiday Cocktail Recipe

This holiday season, think about WHAT you are thankful for. More importantly, think about WHO you are thankful for.

And who knows – maybe while you’re discussing the latest killer concoction you made from Lt. Dan’s inspiration – you will start a conversation with a soon to be lifelong friend.

My holiday concoction that I’m calling a Spiced Manhattan Cocktail is sure to get guests talking at your holiday party. Featuring cognac and warm winter flavors like cinnamon and clove – with a dash of cayenne and citrus, this drink really packs a cozy punch of good cheer!

Holiday Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

Ingredients for My Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

This cocktail includes many elements, but each is ideal for making a holiday Manhattan that is perfectly seasonal. I tried several variations, and this combination of ingredients is absolutely top-notch.

What you need to make infused vermouth:

  • Sweet vermouth
  • Allspice seasoning
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt

To make the Manhattan cocktail:

  • Hennessy Cognac
  • Infused vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel
  • Fresh nutmeg

P.S. Before you send hate mail about how a Manhattan Cocktail is “supposed” to have bourbon instead of Cognac and a cherry instead of an orange – let me say… I am aware of that fact.

BUT – in this case, I felt like the bourbon (of which I tried numerous different kinds) was a bit too harsh. I also considered calling it a holiday Metropolitan, but felt it was really closer to a Manhattan. Either way, it tastes great – so call it whatever you see fit!

How to Make a Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

How to Make a Holiday Spiced Manhattan Cocktail

Have you tried making your own infused vermouth before? It is so wonderfully easy, and amazing how many different variations you can come up with!

This holiday spiced infused vermouth can be made just hours before your festivities, and can be kept in the fridge for up to 6 months after making.

Here’s how to make the infused vermouth:

1. Heat the vermouth in a small saucepan over medium heat, until just before boiling. Add all of your seasonings.

2. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and allow the spiced vermouth to steep for several hours.

3. Once done, pour the vermouth through a sifter to strain out the spices, and into an empty glass container.

Holiday Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

To make each Spiced Manhattan Cocktail:

1. Into a shaker pour the Hennessy, infused vermouth, and bitters. Add ice, and shake vigorously.

2. Pour the cocktail into a martini glass. Garnish with a thin twist of orange peel and a light grating of fresh nutmeg.


Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

Looking for More Holiday Cocktail Recipes?

Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails
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5 from 4 votes
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Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Spiced Manhattan Cocktail - Sweet and spicy and bursting with warm flavors, this Manhattan Cocktail Recipe is perfect for your holiday parties!
Servings: 1 cocktail


Infused Vermouth:

Manhattan Cocktail:

  • 2.5 ounces Hennessy cognac
  • .75 ounce infused vermouth
  • Dash angostura bitters
  • twist of orange
  • sprinkle of fresh nutmeg


  • To Infuse the Vermouth: Heat vermouth to just before boiling. Add all dry ingredients. Turn off heat, cover with lid and let steep for several hours. Pour through sifter into empty container.
  • For each Manhattan Cocktail: Pour Hennessy, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Pour into martini glass. Add twist of orange and sprinkle or zest nutmeg over the top.


Keep infused vermouth in a sealed glass container in the fridge for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1drink, Calories: 181kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 1mg
Course: Beverage, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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57 comments on “Spiced Manhattan Cocktail”

  1. This is like the Holiday drink of all drinks! 

  2. thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. I made these for my husband’s birthday because they are his favorite drink. We loved them so much!

  4. Delish

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  23. the Manhattan is traditionally made with rye, not bourbon. That being said, looking forward to trying this over the holidays.

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  28. Is that 1 tsp Allspice ground or whole?

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  30. Love your P.S. Shuts up purists perfectly. :D

  31. What a great holiday cocktail and I just love that infused vermouth! Need to make this!

  32. So I AM a Manhattan purist, but if you hadn’t called it a Manhattan then I might not have clicked through, so in that regard you win. However, I’m still fighting a nasty cold so it’s just not on the menu tonight. Wondering if I can make the infused vermouth a day or two ahead?? Cannot wait to make this!

  33. Beautiful thoughtful post. And that cocktail looks so warm and inviting and festive!

  34. I’m calling it delicious and I haven’t even tried it yet, it just great. It’s fun to remember how me met people, wonderful post!

  35. Spices make it more festive….

  36. Love this! I could sure use a glass right now :)

  37. What a perfect drink for the season!

  38. I just popped by from An Edible Mosaic and am following via FB. Your cocktails look delicious. I could use one of these!

  39. This post reminded me how much I could use a cocktail – a much needed reminder ;) The recipe looks great and I’m bound to make it over and over again for a nice winter night cap :)

  40. delicious– i’ll take one of these :)

  41. It’s extremely difficult to be creative with a classic like a Manhattan; especially with the few ingredients in it. You’ve not only done that but made it seasonal; bravo! Very clever!

  42. Such pretty pictures! And very festive!

  43. not a big drinker, but this one I want to try – just can’t afford Hennessey, so hopefully a lesser cognac will work well

  44. I could give you some grief about the Manhattan business but then you might have to swing by and return the favor when it comes to martinis! If it’s in a glass called a martini glass I don’t care if it’s chocolate milk, I’ll call it a chocolate milk martini! :)

    The infused vermouth sounds fantastic and I might just have a new bottle calling out for it to be livened up a bit…thanks. Great cocktail!

  45. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! It looks awesome!

  46. Lovely stories about the people in your life, and the cocktail is just gorgeous.

  47. Perfect way to warm up, Sommer!

  48. Cinnamon and cloves and orange?! Ooh, so perfect for this time of year.

  49. I love all of these spices. This is just gorgeous!

  50. This looks perfect for a holiday party!

  51. You know how I feel about my cocktails… so, I don’t need to tell you how much I love this. :-)