Around the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, in Five Drinks

Top tipples of the gala, as selected by Wine Enthusiast's spirits reviewer Kara Newman.


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The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a multi-day cocktail fete held May 14-May 18 in New York, has finally wrapped up, leaving only boozy memories, blurred photos, and a stack of sticky business cards behind. If you attended, feel free to weigh in below with your top drink picks. And if you couldn’t make it, here are (some of) the top cocktails you missed:

The Floradora
This classic cocktail was served at Wine Enthusiast's 2010 Wine Star Awards gala (also held inside the New York Public Library )and made another appearance for the Classic: Hendrick’s gin, raspberry syrup, lime juice and ginger beer, served in a tall glass over ice, garnished with fresh raspberries. Frankly, we needed something cool and refreshing to sip as we pushed through the throngs of thirsty, sweaty revelers and danced the night away.

Monte Cassino
Created by bartender Damon Dyer of New York’s Clover Club, and served up at the MCC bar at Astor Center, which featured a rotating cast of bartenders and drinks throughout the event. We see why this drink took top honors at a contest sponsored by Benedictine at their 500th anniversary celebration. This zingy drink combines Benedictine and Yellow Chartreuse liqueurs, plus Rittenhouse Rye, and loads of fresh lemon juice.

The Black Cherry Sling
From Brian Van Flandern, an enticing mix of Bulleit Bourbon, lime, and Boylans Black Cherry Soda. Served as part of a seminar entitled “Hotel Bars and the Men and Women Behind Them,” lucky New Yorkers and tourists can try this tipple at Bemelmans Bar, inside the Carlyle hotel.

Little Market
From Tad Carducci’s “Spice: The Fennel Frontier” seminar. This Tequila drink, made with Azunia Reposado, packed a punch, thanks to a potent mix of guajillo chile syrup, a dash of habanero sauce, and a pico piquin (chile salt) mixture on the glass rim. Hangover be gone! We’re awake now!

Beet It
Not all the action was at the official MCC seminars – lots of crazy, fascinating events were held all around the city, including a cocktail competition hosted by Classic & Vintage at Rye House. Five bartenders were given a gift-wrapped “mystery box,” each containing a different assortment of ingredients both inspiring (fresh fennel! Maple syrup! Buttered popcorn!) and frankly, just weird (pickle juice! Marshmallows! Prunes!). And each was given 12 minutes to figure out and execute a recipe.

When the dust cleared, a pretty pink drink, called Beet It!, was the winner, and its creator, Julian Cox of Rivera & R26 (opening this fall), Los Angeles, had won a trip to Cognac.

Recipes

Beet It! (by Julian Cox)

¼ oz Esprit de June
1 ½ oz Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon
1 oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Rhum J.M Cane Syrup
pinch of Red Bell Pepper
¼ oz Beet Juice
¼ barspoon cayenne pepper

Shaken and strained over fresh ice in an Old-Fashioned glass, and garnished with a round of fresh bell pepper.

Monte Cassino (by Damon Dyer)

¾ oz. Benedictine liqueur
¾ oz. Yellow Chartreuse
¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. Rittenhouse Rye

Shake, fine strain into chilled coupe (or small cocktail glass). Garnish with lemon twist.
 

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