Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'll take Manhattans

Woodford Reserve's national search for a new Manhattan wound up in New York this week, with eight bartenders displaying their versions of the classic. The high level of the judges - master distiller Chris Morris, Aureole chef Chris Lee, Clover Club's charming mistress Julie Reiner - was brought down when they added me, but we all agreed on the winner, Jeromy Edwards of Back Stage at Theater Square Marketplace in Louisville, whose Cider Manhattan worked best. People may cry the Kentucky fix was in, but three of the four judges are Brooklyintes, so there. My close second was the White Limo from Washington DC's Owen Thomson.

Cider Manhattan
2 oz. Woodford Reserve
3/4 oz. cider reduction
1/2 oz. Antica vermouth
dash Angostura bitter
Grand Marnier-flambéed cherry (preferably Rainier)

Flambé cherry in the Martini glass, allowing it to caramelize. Place ingredeients and ice drink in shaker and turn, don't shake. Pour into Martini glass after it has cooled.


  1. Can someone run me through the merits of turning rather than stirring a cocktail? Is it for show or does it produce something different?

  2. Dale DeGroff and many other great bartenders believe that drinks made without non-alcohol components should only be stirred. Shaking brings on bubbles and will make a drink cloudier, while stirring may or may not make the drink colder - recent work sort of indicates there's no difference. Me, I shake my Manhattans, because I like shards of ice floating on the surface of my drink, and the slight lightening effect shaking it briskly brings. But how adeptly a bartender stirs your drink will tell you something about their skills - a graceful, flicking stir promises someone serious about their drink making skills.