JACKSON CANNON - EASTERN STANDARD, HAWTHORNE (Boston, MA)
Overrated: The Manhattan
"It may be heresy in the eyes of the cocktail revival intelligentsia, but I submit that the proof that this cocktail is overrated is in the fact that several of its descendants are much better drinks. The Vieux Carre, Greenpoint, Red Hook, Caroll Gardens and, in a sense, even La Vina, all express the balance of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters better than the 'Godfather' of stirred drinks, The Manhattan."
"This drink, on the other hand, has spawned a thousand variants that play with the perfect balance of gin and sweet lime but never do they truly improve on that elegance through simplicity that is the gimlet. Always use a London dry gin (Beefeater, Ford's, or Tanqueray) with fresh lime juice and simple syrup. A pinch of quality sea salt heightens the expressiveness of this classic cocktail."
JUSTIN ELLIOTT - QUI (Austin, TX)
"Look, I don't come here to bury the Manhattan Cocktail. Especially in its ideal form -- rye whiskey, plenty of Italian vermouth, aromatic bitters, stirred, and straight up -- this is one of the simplest and most sturdy of all the Golden Age classics, which is why it managed to survive through Prohibition and the even darker years that followed, albeit in an often neutered, bourbon-centric form. But that's the thing: it's become completely ubiquitous; it's a signifier of drinking cocktails as much as it gets to be consumed as an actual cocktail, and by that metric it is DEFINITIVELY 'overrated'. It's the steak frites of cocktails: usually a delight, but nearly never transcendent."