The Metropolitan Grill Has a New Manhattan Champion

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He's a schmoozer and the winner of the Met Grill's 2nd annual Manhattan contest, head bartender Rob Nokes. (All photos Peter Majerle, except where noted.)

To make a Manhattan, it only takes a few simple ingredients.

Add your choice of fine private selection bourbons from Woodford Reserve, Eagle Rare, and/or Elijah Craig bourbons.

And then get to work, drink monkey!

Feel free to get all fancy.

Obligatory action pouring shot


Your Manhattan isn't half empty on the barrel, it's half full down the hatch.

Manhattan #2 was a perfectly fine cocktail, but twas not meant to be.

MVB carefully judges a Manhattan in his gullet. The things we do for you people!

MvB's choice of runner-up (Manhattan #1) contains Fernet, naturally. (Photo MvB)

Here's your palate cleanser.

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Last Thursday, the Metropolitan Grill hosted its second annual employee Manhattan contest. Anyone who works in any capacity at the Met is invited to participate, and actually the winner of the first year’s competition was a “mere” server (with a great recipe).

So The SunBreak attended the private event, in which VIP guests and celebrity judges–aka Ronald Holden and local Q13 TV anchors, in tall and petite sizes–sampled the five cocktail finalists and voted for their favorite. The winning Manhattan was created by head bartender Rob Nokes and will be featured on the Met’s menu for the next year. Check out the recipe below.

I found the flavor of the winning Manhattan more interesting than lovable, but we were rating each drink in terms of taste, originality, and presentation, and Nokes’ entry was definitely original (note the addition of absinthe) and the presentation was spot-on–as the head bartender, dude knows how to work it. It certainly didn’t hurt that he was set apart from all the other drink-servers in a nicely lit spot in the room. And he said he’d treat his wife on their anniversary to the first prize of a hotel stay and some gift certificates. So he better!

Metropolitan Grill Manhattan ~ Created by Head Bartender, Rob Nokes
2.5 oz Metropolitan Grill Woodford Reserve Personal Selection Bourbon #2
1.25 oz Vermouth Di Giuseppe B. Carpano
1 dash Lucid Absinthe
2 dashes cranberry bitters
1 brandied cherry
1 orange peel slice

In a chilled pint glass add two dashes cranberry bitters and one dash Lucid Absinthe.

Next add 1.25 oz of Carpano Sweet Vermouth and 2.5 oz of Metropolitan Grill Woodford Reserve Personal Selection Bourbon #2.

Add ice to fill pint and gently stir with a cocktail spoon till chilled.

Strain into chilled Manhattan glass and squeeze orange peel over top to release the oils. Add cherry for garnish.