Woodford Reserve is seeking out the best Manhattan cocktail.
Earlier this week in New York City, 10 bartenders competed in the 2016 Manhattan Experience, sponsored by Woodford Reserve, where Francesco Dionese’s original recipes were named the best in the city. The event drew 89 applications from the Greater New York area.
In addition to their perfect Manhattan, Dionese (pictured atop) and the other participants were tasked with creating and presenting an original cocktail made with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked.
Dionese will now move on to the next round of the competition, where his recipes will be judged against the winning recipes from the 33 additionally participating markets.
As a semi-finalist, Dionese and the other regional winners will be given an all-expense paid trip to the Woodford Reserve Distillery. There, the bartenders will experience a VIP tour led by Master Distiller Chris Morris, and it will be announced which six finalists will advance to the competition’s final round in New York.
Dionese’s approach to mixology is represented in his winning Manhattan recipe as well as his original cocktail, The Lost Borough, which features small batch and homemade ingredients. Both recipes are included below.
“I am ecstatic to have been given the great opportunity to demonstrate my vision and craft by participating in the Manhattan Experience,” said Dionese.
2 oz. Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select
¾ oz. Antica Formula
½ oz. Punt e Mes
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel and Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries
Chill coupe and mixing glass. Stir all ingredients over ice and pour into the chilled coupe. Add Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries and squeeze an orange peel over the drink to release the oils.
The Lost Borough
1 oz. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
1 oz. Hair of the Bulldog homemade beer-based vermouth
¼ oz. Gentian Liqueur
3 dashes citrus bitters
Kentucky fire cured cigar smoke
Chill coupe and mixing glass, then smoke the inside of the coupe with the Kentucky fire cured cigar smoke. While the coupe is absorbing the smoke, stir the rest of the ingredients over ice and pour into the smoked coupe. Add stout caramel coated cherry.