It's not that the classic rye drink needs fixing, but the Manhattan seems to invite variations. Have you tried the Brooklyn, the Red Hook, and the Little Italy?
'Manhattan' on Serious Eats
Where should you shop for liquor in Manhattan? Here are 12 recommendations for standout shops to seek out.
There's no shortage of first-class cocktail bars in Manhattan. But increasingly, some of the best drinks in town come from the bars of restaurants. Here are our 10 favorite restaurant bars of late, with drinks the equal of any dedicated cocktail bar in town.
The spirit of Alex Stupak's Empellón Taqueria and Empellón Cocina is one of invention, but heavily steeped in the traditions of Mexican cuisine. It's little surprise, then, that the bar program, run by Mat Resler, is the same way—with creative agave-based cocktails that express the full range of mezcal and tequila, be they fruity or peppery, grassy or smoky. Come check out six of Resler's new drinks.
"I love Manhattan variations," says Beloved bar manager Rene Hidalgo. "It's a simple approach that has a lot of room to play around with." A little bit of boredom and a lot of home-bar tinkering led Hidalgo to this variation: rhum agricole, bourbon, vermouth and bitters.
Where do you go for drinks after the runaway hit theater performance Sleep No More, unfolding in the warehouse they dub the "McKittrick Hotel" in West Chelsea? Their rooftop bar, Gallow Green, as resolutely stylized as the set itself. Come take a look at their bleeding cocktails and flaming punches.
Most outdoor drinking in Manhattan entails squeezing into however many two-person tables the bar or restaurant could squeeze into their sidewalk space. That's all fine and good, but the beauty of drinking beer outside is being able to stretch out and relax. It's a tall order in a borough where square footage comes at the highest premium, but it can be done. Trust us, we're professionals.
Just because you only have the time to walk five short blocks for lunch or coffee shouldn't leave Midtownites stranded, and though it's a part of Gotham slow to embrace, say, a lengthy Chemex brew, it shouldn't be so hard to find a great cup of carefully crafted, thoughtfully sourced, beautifully roasted coffee in the heart of Midtown New York City, right? Well...maybe. We'll let the economy catch up for a bit and cross our fingers for a flood of newcomers in months and years to come (we're looking at you, future Blue Bottle Rockefeller Center) and in the meantime point out a few truly great oases in a blighted landscape of chains and delis.
In some ways, the High Time Manhattan has no business being a Big Star cocktail. Ben Fasman, the whiskey-wise bar manager who created it, will freely cop to as much. Big Star, you see, draws inspiration from the shot-and-a-beer honky-tonks that grew up around the Bakersfield Sound of late-1930s California. Tacos fill the menu, and $1 suds issue from the taps. The High Time Manhattan, on the other hand—with near-equal parts Amaro Averna, from Sicily, and Carpano Antica Formula red vermouth, from Turinmdash;sounds far more spaghetti than western.
Grounded in the West Village is known as an especially tea-friendly coffee shop, even selling their own line of loose leaf teas. Keep an eye out for their Rose Tea Latte ($4.75), in which a strong brewed, brisk black tea replaces espresso in a silky, extra-frothy latte.
One drink that sets T-Kettle apart from other neighborhood bubble tea shops is the Black Sugar Milk Tea. It's not the regular menu, but sometimes they have a sign up promoting the drink. Either way, ask for it at the register and they'll know exactly what you mean.
The numerous gelato flavors offered at any given time at Il Laboratorio del Gelato means that the milkshake possibilities are endless. Especially when you consider the fact that they allow you to mix up to four gelato flavors into a single milkshake.
Nestled in the shelf at Peels, right above baked goods and that killer 3-in-1 Pie, is the housemade Horchata ($4). This is what I want to drink every day as the weather gets warm.
At Dok Suni in the East Village, the meal check is presented with a shot glass of the house ginger-cinnamon tea. You'll surely want more than just a shot, which is why they also sell it chilled for $4 a glass.
The Iced Chocolate ($4) from Francois Payard Bakery is a contender for the richest, thickest cool concoction in town. When I ordered it, the woman at the register asked, "Are you sure? It's very thick."
Whole milk is the only way to go with the hot chocolate at Joe ($3). It makes for a velvety affair with subtle, smooth chocolate and lots of froth. They add housemade dark chocolate syrup with a light hand.
The corner spot of 6th Avenue and 12th Street that once held Joe Jr.'s Restaurant is now O Cafe, a Brazilian coffee shop. I stop by for the Latte Bahia ($4.50), named after a northeastern state in Brazil. Here dark chocolate meets a shot of espresso and steamed milk for a heady, full-bodied latte.
One Hot Chocolate Martini please! Silky dark hot chocolate is spiked with Stoli Vanil Vodka and amaretto. It may not curb your cravings for an old fashioned cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows, but if you want to take it up a boozy notch, this is an ideal route.
In honor of National Margarita Day (yes, that's a real holiday!) here are some of our favorites in New York City—chartreuse margaritas, hibiscus margaritas, rosemary margaritas, and much more.
When the people behind a bar as serious as Cienfuegos in the East Village decide to serve brunch, they don't half-ass the drinks. No boring mimosas here: the cocktails included with the $13-15 brunch prix fixe are complex and flavorful additions to your meal.