The Manhattan was once America’s most popular cocktail, but after Prohibition it was overtaken by its upstart cousin, The Martini. Well, that aggression will not stand! That's why we’ve partnered with Woodford Reserve on Jan 22nd-Feb 5th's Manhattan Week: 14 days (why not?) over which ten of Chicago's finest bars will offer great deals on original Manhattan variations -- because what's the point of being 100+ years old if you can't do whatever the hell you want?
The Place: Siena Tavern
The Drink: 2oz Woodford Reserve, 1oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 2 dashes Regan's orange bitters, orange peel for garnish.
The Inspiration: How do you make a classic drink even more classic? By being sure to use orange bitters from famed cocktail historian Gary Regan, and "the Rolls Royce of vermouths".
The Special: $10 off the Rolls Royce of meals (brunch) with purchase.
The Place: The Drawing Room
The Drink: Woodford, Zucca, chocolate & Angostura bitters, maraschino cherries.
The Inspiration: Zucca is a rhubarb-based Italian liqueur that when subbed in for vermouth lends this variation a distinctly modern profile -- as opposed to rhubarb's typical "old lady's State Fair-winning pie" profile.
The Special: $1 from each cocktail sold goes to the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.
The Place: Public House
The Drink: 2oz Woodford, 1oz sweet vermouth, 1/2oz Winter rosemary spiced clove syrup, 3 dashes cherry vanilla bitters, 3 dashes stout bitters, brandied cherries.
The Inspiration: Public House's cocktail highlights two of their favorite things: beer (via the hoppy stout bitters) and the holiday season, perpetuated here in January by the rosemary spiced clove syrup.
The Special: $10 off brunch with purchase.
The Place: Nellcote
The Drink: 2oz Woodford, 1/2oz Blandy's Rainwater Madeira, 1/2oz Noval Black Porto, 2 dashes of Bitter Truth spiced chocolate bitters.
The Inspiration: This isn't just any port(o) in a storm: the fortified wine brings balance that vermouth can't accomplish on its own. The Madeira's dry nuttiness plays off the port’s dark, sweet intensity, while the spice chocolate gives a damn solid kick.
The Special: $10 off brunch on your next visit.
The Place: Old Town Social
The Drink: Woodford, smoked maple syrup, dry vermouth, Angostura bitters, whiskey barrel bitters, 3 drops of liquid smoke, orange zest, and two cherries to garnish -- aka the "Last Exit to Manhattan".
The Inspiration: Prepare for the tastiest history lesson ever with this toast to the Manhattan's longevity, which uses liquid smoke as a nod to its place in smoky jazz lounges and maple syrup commemorating its Prohibition-surviving tenacity (thanks for all that rum-running, Canada!).
The Special: $10 off your next featured brunch.
The Place: Drum Bar
The Drink: Woodford, Punt e Mes, Angostura bitters.
The Inspiration: Doubling down on the bitters, Drum employs Punt e Mes -- which literally translates to "a point and a half", for the point of bitterness and the half point of sweetness, making it the Walter Matthau of vermouths.
The Special: $1 for every drink donated to charity.
The Place: Derby
The Drink: 2oz Woodford, ¾ oz of sweet vermouth, Moonshine Cherry juice, a Moonshine Cherry.
The Inspiration: Genteelly doffing their caps to the Manhattan (and its aforementioned survival skills), the folks at Derby put a Southern twist on a Northern classic.
The Special: $1 off the drink.
The Place: Untitled
The Drink: 2oz Woodford, 1oz Carparno Antica, 1/2oz vanilla espresso, dash of Angostura bitters.
The Inspiration: The pick-me-up that you can't put down: Untitled throws some vanilla espresso into the mix to keep the flavors (and you) lively.
The Special: $2 towards the bar's favorite charity.
The Place: Red Door
The Drink: 2oz sarsaparilla root infused Woodford, 1oz Punt e Mes vermouth, 1 barspoon Fernet, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, mist of Oloroso Sherry, Luxardo cherry for garnish, aka "The Stranger".
The Inspiration: Named for Sam Elliot's character in The Big Lebowski (hence the sarsaparilla), this cocktail trucks in warming, herbal aromatics that really tie the drink together.
The Special: $1 of the proceeds from each drink goes to Red Door’s “Cooking for a Cause” charity partner for the month of January.
The Place: Hubbard Inn
The Drink: Woodford, Punt e Mes, Luxardo Maraschino, Bitter Truth orange bitters, Angostura bitters, orange peel for garnish -- aka, the "Friends with Benefits".
The Inspiration: Having a good time with Punt e Mes and bar-beloved Bitter Truth doesn't mean you have to get married to them or anything. Or at least that what they're saying tonight.
The Special: Each drink puts $2 towards GiveDirectly.com.