The Manhattan? Never off my radar

The classic Manhattan cocktail.
NEW YORK — Some writers and public relations people are heralding the “return” of the Manhattan cocktail. From my vantage point, it has never gone out of favor. For those unfamiliar with the muscular concoction, or have drifted away from it for one reason or another, I feel the same way about you as one old-time comedian commented about people who don’t drink at all.

“I pity them because when they get up in the morning that’s as good as they’re going to feel.”

That’s why I’m happy to pass along the information that Woodford Reserve and Esquire magazine are teaming up to to showcase what they say are “the nation’s ultimate well-crafted Manhattans” when they feature 11 “Masters of the Manhattan” on Monday (January 10) during The Manhattan Experience Finals.

The “masters” earned their way into the event by winning regional qualkifying competitions across the country.  The event, set for 6:30 p.m. at Top of The Standard in the Standard Hotel at 848 Washington Street in Manhattan, NY. Their creations will be reviewed by a panel of experts, including Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris and spirit journalist Paul Pacult.

Esquire spirits writer David Wondrich developed the “Esquire Manhattan,” featuring Woodford Reserve bourbon. You may want to try it if you’re not attending the shake-off.

1½ ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
1 ounce Martini & Rossi red vermouth
½ ounce Fernet Branca

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and twist swatch of thin-cut orange peel over the top.

Note: For those who think an orange peel garnish is sacrilege when it comes to a Manhattan, feel free to use a maraschino cherry as shown in the illustration. No one will think the less of you.

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