Tequila Manhattan

Marisa Chafetz
Marisa Chafetz

This strong tequila cocktail goes by a couple names. You may hear it called the Distrito Federal, which is also commonly used in Mexico as the name for Mexico City (if someone ever mentions “Day Effay,” they’re referring to Mexico City). But you’ll also hear it called a Tequila Manhattan, which, based on the recipe, is exactly what this is. The drink swaps out spicy rye for añejo tequila, which is tequila that has been aged for at least one year in oak barrels. From there, the recipe is almost exactly the same as a traditional Manhattan. Add sweet vermouth to the tequila, hit it with a couple dashes of orange bitters, stir, and serve up.

Of all the spirit-swapping classics, the Tequila Manhattan stays closest to the original cocktail. Thanks to the barrel aging, añejo tequilas are mellower than their blanco cousins, but they still have that spicy tequila backbone, which mirrors the spiciness of a Manhattan’s typical rye whiskey base. Añejo tequilas can be pricey—many brands top out around $100 a bottle. That might make you loath to use any of the spirit in a cocktail, but there are good affordable options that will not only mix well into drinks (whether in a Tequila Manhattan or in place of whiskey in any number of recipes that call for the brown spirit) but also won’t break the bank. Check out Gran Centenario’s añejo ($40) which doesn’t just get the required year in a barrel, it gets three. Or Tapatio’s (the tequila, not the hot sauce) añejo ($45), which will bring some serious spice notes to the drink.

Tequila Manhattan



  • 2 oz Añejo Tequila
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters
  • Orange Twist for Garnish


Step one

Add tequila and vermouth to a mixing glass and add ice.

Step two

Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Step three

Garnish with an orange twist

Contributed by Supercall