THE MORNINGSTAR: This cocktail was described by my bartender tonight as a "twist" on the classic Manhattan cocktail. The description on its menu reads as follows:
"Eagle Rare Whiskey/Frangelico/Sweet Vermouth/Ango/Anise/Coffee Chocolate Pecan Bitters."
It came served in a coupe cocktail glass chilled with liquid nitrogen. One thing that really stood out for me was the star anise garnish, which made for a delightful nibble both during and after my drink was consumed.
What do you think? For whatever it may be worth, this is the best tasting variation of the Manhattan I have ever tried to date.
I would also like to add that this bar serves a superb classic gin martini. The one thing that immediately struck me the most was the chill of the martini glass.
My bartender informed me that all of their martini glasses are chilled with liquid nitrogen. I believe this is a first for our local bar scene here in Norfolk, Virginia.
This is also the only local bar I've found that stocks and uses Angnostura Orange Bitters. There are a few other bars here in Norfolk which purport to prepare their own "in house" orange bitters.
Unfortunately, they all fail miserably in comparison to the Angnostura brand. These "house" brands of orange bitters are always overly sweet and exert an unfortunate dye effect of turning the color of your martini into an unappetizing bright orange hue.
I didn't even have to tell my bartender to prepare my martini stirred and not shaken. He knew better and even appeared to be insulted that I brought it up.
This is in sharp contrast to the many bartenders in my area who have never even heard of a martini prepared stirred, instead of shaken.
This commentary is coming from a guy who used to sing the praises last year of a Hendricks Gin cucumber martini, shaken and not stirred. I now cringe at the very sound of a martini that is shaken and the taste of the cucumber flavored turpentine that I now derive from Hendricks.
I like to think that I've come a long way since then.
Some of you guys helped in leading me to the light back then.
For those of you who did so, I want to say THANK YOU!
In conclusion, the cocktail scene here in Norfolk, Virginia, appears to be breaking new ground and making substantial progress.