Festive and fun is what comes to mind when describing this Smoked Christmas Manhattan. A classic cocktail with a seasonal twist by adding orange juice, orange bitters, a sprig of rosemary (a mini Christmas tree!) all finished with a dramatic smoke show!

A dark brown cocktail in a short glass with a large ice ball

The classic Manhattan just happens to be my favorite cocktail and I’ve been experimenting with how to make it just that little bit different. I settled on adding fresh orange to embrace winter citrus season and smoking it.

A smoked drink with the smoke sitting on top

It’s been a while since I posted a cocktail recipe. If my memory serves me, the last one was a classic Pimm’s for the summer . Come to think of it, I also have a delicious Winter Pimm’s that is served warm.

A classic Manhattan martini is 2 parts rye whiskey, to 1 part sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters and a cherry. Some like a maraschino cherry, I prefer to upgrade to the elegance of a Luxardo cherry – this is the sweet, dark real Italian cherry that you’ll see in Manhattans at upscale bars and restaurants.

What cherry is best for a Manhattan?

Luxardo cherries over maraschino because there are hints of chocolate, orange and vanilla which perfectly complement the flavor of the drink itself.

A Manhattan cocktail from overhead with a sprig of rosemary and curled orange peel

A year-round cocktail

Not limited to just Christmas, you can enjoy this Manhattan all holiday season. Want a fabulous  New Years Eve cocktail? You’ve found it! In fact, what would stop you from making it and drinking it any time of the year?

Christmas cocktails can be so festive and are just plain fun. I love to take a classic cocktail, like a Sidecar, and turn it into an Apple Sidecar by adding seasonal flavors like apple and sage. You also must check out my Christmas Cosmopolitan that is made with cranberry. Yum!

When I’m enjoying cocktails with friends or on my own, I like a strong pour, (and who doesn’t?) whether it’s a martini or a drink served over ice. This Smoked Christmas Manhattan makes two 6 ounce drinks that can be served martini-style or over a single large ice cube.

A smoke topper on a glass with smoke on top of the drink.

How to smoke a cocktail

There are two ways you can do this, with a ‘topper’ that sits on top of a glass whereby the smoke is infused into the glass and the drink (see image above).

if you don’t have any kind of cocktail smoker you can simply ignite smoking chips on a heatproof surface (I use a plate), then place your glass upside down over the smoke.

How long do you smoke a cocktail?

The longer you smoke, the smokier the drink. I like 30 seconds to 1 minute for the perfect balance.

Yield: 2

Smoked Christmas Manhattan

A smoked Christmas Manhattan drink with a large ice cube, orange peel and rosemary sprig

A classic Manhatta gets a season twist with orange and added smokey flavor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 4 ounces (118 ml) rye whiskey
  • 2 ounces (59 ml) red vermouth
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) orange juice
  • 4 dashes orange bitters
  • Wood smoking chips
  • Smoke topper
  • Luxardo cherries
  • Rosemary sprig for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the rye, vermouth, orange juice and bitters. Shake for 10 seconds and let rest for a bit.
  2. Add a large ice cube to a short glass and pour in the drink.
  3. Place smoke topper over the glass and fill the top with smoking chips. Ignite until smokey, immediately cover the smoker with something small (I use a cocktail shaker lid or jigger) for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the smoker, garnish with a Luxardo cherry and sprig of rosemary. Serve immediately while it’s frosty and cold.
  5. If you don’t have a smoker (do this before pouring the drink), place a pinch of wood smoking chips onto a plate (or heatproof surface). Ignite until smoking and place your glass upside down over the smoke for 30 seconds. Then add the ice and the drink.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 219Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 3mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 0gSugar 4gProtein 0g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.