Woodford Reserve has crowned Allison Widdecombe of Denver the winner of its 2015 Manhattan Experience contest. The program gives bartenders nationwide the chance to enter their unique spins on the classic Manhattan bourbon cocktail. More than 500 mixologists from 30 markets entered this year.
The Manhattan Experience finale took place on Jan. 13 in New York at The Bowery Hotel’s Bowery Terrace. Judges Charles Joly, Jacques Bezuidenhout, David Wondrich, and Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris evaluated the recipes of the six finalists, who represented Denver, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco. Consumers and bartenders were invited to attend the event and sample the finalists’ recipes and vote on their favorite.
Widdecombe’s cocktail, Proven Perfect, uses 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. As the Manhattan Experience winner, Widdecombe will receive a feature article on Liquor.com, as well as a trip to San Francisco for a photo and video shoot for the Liquor.com site. Here’s the full recipe for her winning Manhattan.
2 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
½ oz. Oolong tea-infused ruby port
½ oz. Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle liqueur
½ 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.