Harvest Manhattan Cocktail

published Sep 7, 2023
Harvest Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

This fall-inspired cocktail adds pumpkin pie spice and apple cider to a classic Manhattan.

Makes1 drink

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Two coupe glasses with harvest cocktail, cinnamon sugar rim and apple garnishes.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Ben Weiner

When I hear the phrase, “I’ll have a Manhattan please,” it always makes me think of a wood-paneled bar in New York with deep leather chairs and a bartender dressed in black and white. The classic cocktail for whiskey lovers only requires a few ingredients — whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters — to make a well-balanced, spirit-forward drink. 

Yet, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other drinks inspired by this combination. Meet my fall-inspired take: the harvest Manhattan cocktail. This twist adds apple cider and pumpkin pie spice to the mix for a touch of fall sweetness. Served in a glass with a spiced sugar rim, it’s a highly sippable after-dinner drink with an element of sweetness that’s a slightly lighter take on the classic Manhattan.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Ben Weiner

The Ingredients You’ll Need for a Harvest Manhattan Cocktail

  • Sugar. You’ll need sugar for rimming the glass.
  • Pumpkin pie spice. This blend of warm spices does double duty, in both the sugared rim and in the Manhattan.
  • Apple slice. A thin apple slice moistens the rim and serves as the garnish.
  • Rye whiskey or bourbon. It’s your choice here. You can go with rye if you like things a bit spicier, or bourbon for a drink with more caramel-y notes.
  • Apple cider. Crisp apple cider (not the sparkling kind) is what makes this cocktail sing, so look for the good stuff in the refrigerated section with the other juices. If that’s not available, use an unfiltered apple juice.
  • Sweet vermouth. Vermouth adds body to the cocktail.
  • Aromatic bitters. A few dashes of Angostura bitters rounds things out nicely.

While ice might not seem like a key ingredient in a cocktail, it plays very important roles in both diluting the cocktail properly and chilling everything down to an icy-cold temperature. Make sure you have plenty of ice around if you’re making a few rounds.

A Few Tips for Making a Harvest Manhattan Cocktail

  1. Chill the glass. For a perfect Manhattan that will stay delicious and cold the whole time you’re sipping it, rim the glass and then chill it for at least five minutes.
  2. Use enough ice. Make sure the shaker is filled at least halfway with ice so that the Manhattan gets cold enough.
  3. Stir, stir, stir. The proper dilution of the cocktail only happens when it is stirred long enough, so be patient and stir for at least 30 seconds. The outside of the shaker or mixer glass should be nice and frosty.

You don’t need much apple cider here, so if you have extra, consider freezing it in an ice cube tray so that you only thaw out what you’ll need for another drink. That way you don’t have to only have this drink in the fall when apple cider is abundant. Enjoy a harvest Manhattan as a nightcap when you don’t feel like dessert, but wouldn’t mind a little sweetness to finish things off. 

Harvest Manhattan Cocktail Recipe

This fall-inspired cocktail adds pumpkin pie spice and apple cider to a classic Manhattan.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1 drink

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    pumpkin pie spice, plus more for the cocktail

  • 1

    thin apple slice

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    rye whiskey or bourbon

  • 1 ounce

    apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

  • 1 ounce

    sweet vermouth

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    Angostura bitters (about 2 dashes)

  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Place 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice on a small dish and stir to combine. Moisten the rim of a 3-ounce cocktail coupe glass with 1 thin apple slice by rubbing the cut part of the slice on the rim. Invert the glass into the sugar, turning it as needed, to coat the rim. Place the glass in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for at least 5 minutes.

  2. Place 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon, 1 ounce apple cider, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1/4 teaspoon Angostura bitters, and 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to fill the mixing glass about half-full. Stir until the cocktail is very chilled, about 30 seconds.

  3. Pour the cocktail through a strainer into the chilled glass. Garnish with the apple slice.