22 Feb 2016 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
Manhattan, named #35 in World’s 50 Best Bars, takes new inspiration from Harlem – known for its African-American influence in culture and arts – and gives us five new classic cocktails with a twist. Here’s the real rebirth of cool.
The new cocktails from Manhattan celebrates the diverse cultural legacy of Harlem, the soulful district known for Across The 110th Street, and not so much Eddie Murphy’s slapstick vision of the borough. There are five new classic cocktails – each with a fresh twist – and four bar bites created by bar manager Philip Bischoff and head chef Nicholas Trosien.
Alipús Baltazar Mezcal, Koko Kanu Rum, Luxardo Espresso Liqueur, Pineapple, Lime, House-made Grenadine, Egg White and Peach Bitters
Founded in 1939, the Lenox Lounge – located on Lenox Avenue in the heart of Harlem – was the stage for many iconic jazz artistes, including the likes of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Manhattan’s Lenox is a remake of the popular joint’s iconic cocktail, Harlem Nights, and a reconstructed variation of the archetypal Espresso Martini.
Parched verdict: Mezcal is not an easy spirit to use, it’s a little bit salty, but in this case it’s a good match with the coffee liqueur. The egg whites gives it texture and balance, which made us think of a smoky sour cocktail.
Barber Shop, $23
Bowmore 12Y Whisky, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup, Lime Juice, Cucumber, Mint Leaves and Ginger Beer
Dressed with an eye-catching red and white barber pole straw, Barber Shop is reminiscent of Harlem’s local hangouts and its community that fostered relationships in the many beauty salons and barbershops that lined the streets.
Parched verdict: Our favourite, not just for the kickass presentation, a tiny bottle within a glass of ice, but for the use of a smoky single malt and not a blended one. Really hard to slip slowly, although you really really should.
Ferrand Cognac, Fresh Lemon, Ferrand Dry Curaçao, Simple Syrup and Knickbocker Beer Foam
Inspired by the legendary exhibition basketball team Harlem Globetrotters, this drink brings its A-game with the ideal accompaniment of a side of pretzels. Wait, what, you’ve never heard of the Harlem Globetrotters!?!
Gin & Juice, $24
Tanqueray No. Ten Gin, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Maraschino, Simple Syrup, Sea Salt, Egg White and Champagne
A tribute to Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice single in his debut album Doggystyle. This cocktail is a fun play on the well-known American long drink with a finishing touch of a very “G” golden dog spray lacing the cocktail.
Parched verdict: A gin and lime juice is a Gimlet (Raymond Chandler likes his in equal portions), but Snoop doesn’t specify his recipe or which juice actually. We do know what herb he likes with it though.
Red Rooster, $24
House-made Barrel Aged Applejack, St. Germain and Luxardo Sangue Morlacco
Named after Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, which is known for the revival of native American cuisine and the diverse culinary traditions of the neighbourhood. Neither shaken nor stirred, this thrown cocktail is not too heavy on the palate and marries the
aromatically sweet and floral flavour profiles of the spirits perfectly.
Parched verdict: The barrel-aged Applejack is a combo of three spirits, and is possibly one of America’s oldest spirits. The bar barrel-ages their own, and I’m glad they found an interesting recipe for it. File this under El Presidente if that’s your thing, we love its bracing layers.
Like this? How about a round of gin – healthy gin?