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Apple Cider Manhattan Cocktail

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Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Leah Hall

Apple Cider is one of our favorite parts of fall, and it is great combined in this twist on the classic cocktail! We love Manhattan cocktail variations like this Apple Manhattan drink!


Every year we take a trip down to Nebraska City to one of of our local orchards where we meet the grandparents and let the boys explore the orchard and pick their own apples. We make a day of it, eating lunch in the apple barn where they sort the apples fresh from the trees into bags and pass a bunch onto the cider presses.

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,

We love a good apple cider cocktail like some of our best apple cider cocktails: Apple Cider Mimosa, Caramel Apple Cider Moscow Mule, Apple Cider Margarita, and Apple Cider Old Fashioned. The addition of apple cider in each one of these makes a delicious fall twist on all of these.


Apple Cider Manhattan

Seeing the sorting process and cider presses in action are always a highlight of the trip. We can try the cider just minutes after being bottled. Having fresh cider in our house always inspires new cocktails, one of which is the Apple Cider Manhattan, a classic combination of apple cider and whiskey together.


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The Apple Cider Manhattan is a fun fall twist on the classic Manhattan, adding in some of that fresh apple cider we had seen being pressed at Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City just hours before. The apple cider adds a sweet tart fall flavor to the cocktail, a flavor that works really well with the whiskey we used. The apple cider also adds a nice caramel color that makes for a very attractive drink.

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,

Manhattan Cocktail

A traditional Manhattan is an easy recipe. A Manhattan cocktail is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Rye whiskey is the traditional whiskey of choice in this classic cocktail. Sweet vermouth and bitters combine with this rye whiskey for a rich and tasty drink. Make sure to try a classic Manhattan too, as it is a delicious drink and one for the whiskey lover!

Ingredients Needed for the Apple Cider Manhattan

  • Whiskey – we used rye whiskey in this Apple Cider Manhattan. Rye whiskey has a mash bill of at least 51% rye and aged in charred, new oak barrels. This gives the rye a spicy flavor sometimes described as black pepper or clove-like. Some good quality whiskey brands could be Old Forester Rye, George Dickel Rye, Knob Creek Rye, or High West Whiskey Rendezvous Rye.
  • Sweet Vermouth – sweet vermouth is a fortified wine that has been flavored with botanicals. Sweet vermouth has anywhere between 10-15% sugar content, and adds the sweetness in a Manhattan cocktail. Some brands we would recommend would be Contratto Vermouth Rosso, Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino, Carpano Antica Formula, or Vermut Lustau.
  • Lemon Juice – as always fresh squeezed is best! Not a normal Manhattan ingredient, this adds some freshness to the drink.
  • Apple Cider – fresh apple cider is the best option for this drink, and adds a dash of fall and apple flavor to the drink. Just 1.5 ounces of apple cider are called for, but makes for a complex flavor.
  • Bitters – we used Angostura bitters, as in a classic Manhattan. This helps cut any sweetness and adds botanicals.
  • Simple Syrup – this is optional, but we recommend it, depending on the sweetness of the cider. You may need a dash of simple syrup to balance the drink. To make the perfect fall cocktail recipe, and if you don’t want to use regular sugar, feel free to sweeten with maple syrup.

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,

What’s the Difference Between a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned?

We stayed true to the original Manhattan by adding in a bit of sweet vermouth, which adds a nice complex herbal note and slight hint of bitterness. The vermouth pulls out some of the spice notes in the whiskey, which is probably why the folks who originally mixed up the Manhattan paired these two spirits up! These are almost fall spices in nature, so this was a natural fit for a festive cocktail.


Rye whiskey really popped with the apple cider, the hints of oak and toffee partnering up with the sweet tart of the cider very nicely. The dash of simple syrup is included if you need to make your Manhattan a little sweeter, but can be omitted if desired.


An Old Fashioned cocktail is also a delicious cocktail, that is a classic, too. It’s a simple combination of sugar, bitters and whiskey. We made a fall season cocktail with our Apple Cider Old Fashioned with an apple cider reduction to sweeten the recipe. This is a great apple cider whiskey cocktail for the time of year.

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,

How to Make this Apple Cider Manhattan

A classic Manhattan is made in a mixing glass, because it is just alcohol. Usually with juice in a cocktail it is shaken in a cocktail shaker. But, we stayed true to the original recipe and stirred the cocktail, and strained through a Hawthorne strainer into the cocktail coupe.


We tried it by shaking it, and didn’t like how watered down it became. So, you can make the cocktail either way, either shaken or stirred. But, just make sure to use a chilled cocktail coupe to keep this cocktail served up, cold.


If You Are Looking for More Cocktails with Bitters, Try These!

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,

This whiskey is a very smooth spirit, which makes this Apple Cider Manhattan a smooth sipper, perfect for a cool fall evening by a fire. Also, make sure to check out another cider cocktail, an Apple Cider Sangria or the Apple Cider Sidecar! Other fall season simple recipes are our Non-Alcoholic Cider Cocktail, Bourbon Apple Cider and the Fall Gin & Tonic.


Tips & Tricks

  • Glassware – this cocktail is served up. This means it is usually in a stemmed cocktail coupe without being served over ice. It is shaken or stirred before hand to dilute it, and it is helpful to chill the cocktail coupe before pouring in the cocktail. Either place your coupe in the freezer 20 minutes beforehand, or fill the coupe with ice while making the cocktail and dump it out before pouring in the drink.
  • Garnish – we used some brandied cherries on a cocktail pick for this cocktail. But some other ideas could be bourbon soaked cherries, thin apple slices on a pick, a lemon peel, cinnamon stick, bright red maraschino cherry, orange slice, or floating a star anise on top.
  • Other flavors – you can sub the Angostura bitters with orange bitters if you like. Or, use some clove bitters or cinnamon bitters to bring out the flavors of fall.




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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!

The Maple and Cider Kentucky Mule - A Bourbon CocktailMaple & Cider Kentucky Mule


Bourbon Butterbeer CocktailBourbon Butterbeer Cocktail

Other Manhattan Cocktails

Other Apple Cider Cocktails

orange colored Apple Manhattan cocktail in coupe with cherry on cocktail pick,
Yield: 1

Apple Cider Manhattan Cocktail

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

A fall twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, with the addition of apple cider. Make this Apple Cider Manhattan all autumn long!


  • 1.50 ounces whiskey or rye
  • .75 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1.50 ounces fresh apple cider
  • .50 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • .50 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.

Stir to mix and chill, about 30 seconds.

Strain into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a brandied cherry.


Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 18.5gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 6gProtein: 0.1g

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Monday 7th of November 2016

This looks so perfect for Fall. Thank you for sharing!!!

The 'Noms.

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Thanks so much! Cheers!


Monday 7th of November 2016

This looks delicious! I just started getting into Manhattans and this one looks perfect for fall - I love the color too!

Patricia @ Grab a Plate

Saturday 5th of November 2016

I need a trip to an apple orchard! This cocktail sounds amazing - and perfect for the season!

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