Spiced Manhattan Cocktail

Holiday Spiced Manhattan CocktailSweet and Spicy and bursting with holiday flavor, this Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe is just the way to start you holiday parties this year.

Lieutenant Dan here.

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #cocktails #holiday

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.

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

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 (my Notre Dame Fighting Irish are going to the national championship by the way!), a hobby or some other shared interest. There are untold ways that people connect that first time.

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

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 were still close friends (and have drank a fair bit of wine together over the years).

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

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 coming soon 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).

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

So, as you head into this holiday season, think about WHAT you are thankful for. More importantly, think about WHO you are thankful for.

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


Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

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 (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!

More Holiday Cocktails:

Brandy Java Ice

Meyer Lemon Tom Collins

Creamy Egg Nog ~ Epicurean Mom

Holiday Sangria ~ Aggie’s Kitchen

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 1

Prep Time:2 minutes

Cook Time:5 minutes

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Infused Vermouth:

  • 2 cups sweet vermouth
  • 1 teapsoon allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash sea salt

Manhattan Cocktail:

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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