If you're looking for the country's best Manhattan, look no further than Miami Beach.
The Broken Shaker's Virginia King beat a slew of bartender finalists to earn the title "Master of the Manhattan" during the Manhattan Experience finale, held Monday, January 13, in (appropriately) Manhattan.
Each of the six bartenders competing in the finale won his or her regional competition. King was crowned the Miami "Master" this past November at the local South Florida event, held at the Broken Shaker. Her take on the classic cocktail, the Looking at Me Like You Don't Want Me to Go, won her the coveted spot at the New York City finals along with bartenders from Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
Virginia King poses with her muse.
Jason Green Photography
During the New York finale, which was emceed by Chopped host Ted Allen, the six bartenders created their recipes for a panel of judges including Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris, Esquire drinks correspondent David Wondrich, and 2013's Master of the Manhattan, Travis Fourmont. Attendees also got to sample the drinks and vote for their favorite.
Each bartender's cocktail was graded on creativity, presentation, taste, and the ability to showcase the Woodford Reserve bourbon used as a primary ingredient.
"Virginia was named Master of the Manhattan because she perfectly accented the complex elements of Woodford Reserve bourbon to create a truly memorable cocktail," Woodford Reserve brand director Jason Kempf said.
King and her winning recipe featuring Woodford Reserve will appear in an upcoming issue of Esquire, but below is the recipe if you can't wait. Better yet, allow the Master of the Manhattan to make one for you. The winning cocktail is on special for $9 all week at the Broken Shaker.
The best Manhattan is in Miami.
Jason Green Photography
Looking at Me Like You Don't Want Me to Go Manhattan (by Virginia King)
- 1 ½ oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
- ½ oz. Benedictine
- ¾ oz. Carpano
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 2 dashes cherry bark vanilla bitters
- 1 infused "Filthy" cherry, for garnish
- 1 lemon twist, for garnish
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In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with the infused cherry. Squeeze lemon twist over drink and discard.