If we had to pick one cocktail to sum up New York City, it’d have to be the obvious choice: The Manhattan. In our March/April 2012 issue, we highlight five New York City bars that stir up stellar versions of the venerable classic (some with their own contemporary twists), but we couldn’t stop there. Here are 10 additional spots mixing up first-rate variations of the city’s delicious namesake drink.
The Beagle’s Solera-Aged Manhattan is a blend of Buffalo Trace white dog whiskey, Dolin Rouge and Angostura bitters that matures in a solera-like system (similar to how sherry ages in Spain) comprised of three mini Tuthilltown barrels that previously held the distillery’s Hudson Baby bourbon and rye. The vermouth undergoes an oxidative aging while the white dog takes on heavy influence from the wood, resulting in complex, almost nutty sipper. 162 Avenue A., New York City; 212-228-6900
Belly up to Bemelmans Bar inside the Carlyle Hotel for a bourbon-spiked variation on the timeless classic that combines Bulleit bourbon, Carpano Antica and Angostura bitters paired with unparalleled hospitality by longtime Bemelmans bartender, Tommy Rowles. 35 E. 76th St., New York City; 212-744-1600
Blue Bar at the Algonquin Hotel
This swank Midtown Manhattan hotel bar serves up a tasty bourbon-based modern Manhattan with Knob Creek, sweet vermouth and a splash of Grand Marnier, all just two blocks away from Times Square and the bustling theatre district. 59 W. 44th St., New York City; 212-840-6800
Booker & Dax
Molecular mixology meets its match at this lab-like cocktail bar inside Momofuku Ssäm, where bottled Manhattans dip into the drinkable sciences. A mix of Rittenhouse rye, Carpano Antica, Angostura bitters and water is individually bottled and then dosed with liquid nitrogen, which acts as a preservative. The result? A Manhattan unlike any other you’ll find in the city. 207 2nd Ave., New York City
Char No. 4
This whiskey bar is across the river in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t stop it from mixing one of the more innovative Manhattans east of the Hudson. A mix of Old Overholt rye, Punt e Mes and Fee Bros. bitters that matures for a full month in a five-gallon bourbon barrel, the resulting aged Manhattan is dynamically different from where it started—the spiciness of the rye mellows, while the intensity of the Punt e Mes calms. 196 Smith St., Brooklyn; 718-643-2106
Death + Co.
With a drinks menu that offers close to 50 different cocktails, it can be tough to choose, but this East Village drinking den does the Manhattan proud with its mix of rye whiskey, house vermouth (a equal mix of Dolin Rouge and Punt e Mes) and Angostura bitters all topped with a skewer of brandied cherries. 433 E. 6th St., New York City; 212-388-0882
Smooth jazz meets equally polished Manhattans at this West Village basement bar. And though their rye-rich version is divine, they also stir up several sleek variations, including the Red Hook with rye, Punt e Mes and maraschino liqueur. 22 7th Ave. S., New York City; 212-929-4360
Prime Meats in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn offers up its own delicious take on the Big Apple’s namesake drink with their Prime Manhattan—a superb combo of Rittenhouse rye, Punt e Mes and housemade bitters. 465 Court St., Brooklyn; 718-254-0327
Raines Law Room
This subterranean cocktail den offers a more spirited take on the classic Manhattan, mixing three parts Rittenhouse rye to one part Carpano Antica with two dashes of Angostura stirred into the mix, and all topped with a brandied cherry. And when you’re ready for another round simply ring the buzzer beside your table and your server will be with you in a jiff. 48 W. 17th St., New York City
This Nolita pizza joint offers an all-together different take on the old New York classic combining rye, Averna, Lillet Blanc and Angostura for their “Black Manhattan”—it’s perfect sipped alongside their thin-crusted white pie. 235 Mulberry St., New York City; 212-965-0500