3 Great Drinks from the Manhattan Cocktail Classic

By Helen Rosner

Published on May 16, 2011

The main branch of the New York Public Library was packed last Friday night, as fascinator-clad ladies and Bond-villain men (including a particularly dapper gent making the rounds in a white suit and an eyepatch) wandered the marble halls tasting the more than 100 cocktails on offer as part of the opening-night celebration of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. With spirits on offer ranging from corner-store staples to the most obscure liqueurs, there was something boozy for every palate; of the dozens and dozens of drinks, three stood out as particular highlights.

The Peruvian grape brandy pisco was played off to excellent effect in Pisco Gran Serpe's Snake Eyes cocktail, a fruity, tropical cocktail with a fiery twist thanks to muddled jalapeños. Mixologist Toby Maloney poured out tall glasses of Balaton, a shockingly bright concoction, based on the Hungarian liqueur Zweck, that was like biting into a juicy orange. And the Negroni, a classic which bears little room for variation, which reached a near-perfect state at the hands of bartender Tony Abou-Garim, who garnished the bitter-sweet cocktail with a twist of flaming orange peel.

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