According to the nationwide search that Woodford Reserve did, Allison Widdecombe of Denver makes the best Manhattan in the entire country. Widdecombe, of Denver, was crowned the winner of its 2015 Manhattan Experience. The Manhattan Experience is a national program that showcases the talents of bartenders from around the country by giving them the chance to enter their unique spins on the classic bourbon cocktail.
The final event took place at the Bowery Hotel’s Bowery Terrace where the six semi-finalists chosen from select markets from around the country featured their recipes for judges. This contest was judged by industry innovators Charles Joly, Jacques Bezuidenhout, David Wondrich and Woodford Reserve’s own Master Distiller Chris Morris. The event featured both other bartenders and patron’s alike to sample the finalists’ recipe and vote on their favorite.
“I’m so honored to have been selected as the winner of this year’s Manhattan Experience,” says Widdecombe.
Allison Widdecombe of Denver’s Williams & Graham, said that her orginal recipe was a twist on the classic, with alternative ingredients that replicate the classic Manhattan’s blend of sweet, dry, bitter, and bourbon-forward flavors.
Woodford Reserve’s Manhattan Contest Details
The semi-finalists of this year’s contest represented Denver, Indianapolis, Miwaukee, Pittsburg, Portland, and San Francisco. The program saw rover 500 entries from 30 markets. Participants were challenged to come up with a modern twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail.
Widdecombe’s Cocktail featured oolong tea-infused ruby port, which acted as a traditional Manhattan’s sweet vermouth, and cardamom-infused orange liqueur to replace the typical dry vermouth. She named it Proven Perfect.
Proven Perfect Recipe
- 2.0 oz. Woodford Reserve
- 0.5 oz. Oolong Tea-Infused Ruby Port
- 0.5 oz. Cardamom-Infused Amèr Nouvelle
- 0.5 bar spoon of Fernet Branca
Combine ingredients over ice in mixing glass and stir. Strain them into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.
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