Monday, June 20, 2011

Manifesto - Kansas City

To Kansas City and its cocktail gems. I've moved on from my martini happy hours at Union Station to Manifesto. I browsed the KC Yelp's Best Of lists and came upon Manifesto. The rating, the reviews all had me hooked. 4.5 I rate it, 5 I name it because I want out-of-towners to visit as I did.

My 3 month Portugal stay left me craving for cocktails and I was waiting until June 17 for satisfaction. This was when I would enter the cocktail haven of Denver/Boulder, Colorado. Never fear, Manifesto is here. June 9 delivered satisfaction in Rieger backroom fashion.

Reservations are definitely recommended, so text 816.536.1325 and include your preferred time and party number. They responded mid-afternoon and were quite prompt and accommodating when my party number changed from 2 to 5. I headed to 1924 Main, an address occupied by Rieger's. Their hostess took me to the back and we went downstairs past rock hewn walls and framed photographs. Please also note the rules stated on the website and menus (mind your manners).
 Manifesto staff did not ask for our reservation confirmation so we seated ourselves promptly in a booth. Thursday nights aren't as popular which is great. There was a large group seated with an obnoxiously loud grating voiced woman, but the detailed menu drew my attention in and drowned her out.
As we listened to the loud music, we glanced through the menu featuring 29 drinks segregated by spirit (gin, vodka, rum, tequila, brandy, bitters). Note: extra menus at the booths would be appreciated along with additional lighting. One candle did not prove sufficient especially amongst 3 different palates.
Our waitress was slightly off kilter and a bit imbalanced due to the loud group. She regained her footing, apologized, and offered free shots (more on that later). We started by ordering the Shatto Blanc, Smokin' Choke, and Jackson County Democratic Club Cocktail.
The Shatto Blanc - Tito's vodka, Shatto Root Beer Milk, Yellow Chartreuse, Angostura Bitters. You could taste the slight sweetness then the vodka and chartreuse washes over with slight bitterness. Cheers to a cocktail featuring a local product.
Jackson County Democratic Club Cocktail - Rittenhouse Rye, Luxxardo, Yellow Chartreuse Lemon, Angostura Orange Bitters. Citrus with herbal notes.
Smokin' Choke - Applewood Smoked Four Roses, Cynar, Maple Syrup, Peychaud's Bitters. Slightly sweet with bitterness. Had a smoky coat with large ice block.

This bar advertises 48 seats. The seating options range from booth to bar, to high table seating. The lighting is dim. The water is served at room temperature without ice. The menu shows the glass presentation and whether or not the drink is shaken or stirred (SH versus ST). Beau/Bo (sp?) came over so we quizzed him about potential drinks. We wanted to know about the ginger profile of their syrup and whether the flavor is featured in select drinks. We inquired about the strawberry cordial and whether it would be too sweet. We asked what local liqueurs he would recommend. All the thorough responses led to: we make it in-house, we take pride in our work, it features these spices, it's in the forefront here, background here, etc. He was amazingly thorough and I appreciate that in a bartender.
Tempest - Goslings Dark Rum, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Five Pepper Infused Tequila. Ginger advertised at the forefront and delivered. Sweet citrus with ginger spice. Also comes with house made ginger candy (ask about the process. It's interesting).
La Palabra - Milagro Silver, Strawberry Cordial, Green Chartreuse, Lime. Spicy hot, can definitely smell the tequila.
Farewell to Arms - Fernet Branca, Falernum, Lime. Their Falernum is a house infused rum. A basil leaf tops the glass. Slightly sweet with warm spices including ginger. Fellow diners agreed it tasted of dark chocolate.

Port Fonda (unpictured) - Milagro Silver, Cucumber, Tomatillo, Cilantro, Serrano Peppers, Salt, Lime. Cooling cucumber in beginning then spicy pepper finish. Recommend as Manifesto's healthiest drink similar to the Green Machine.

In the midst of these drinks, our waitress asked us if we were ready for our free shots. She apologized earlier for our delays. I wondered why she waited until now and not sooner to deliver them as were into our second drinks. Was she trying to choose the timing and not us? While there, I quizzed her again about the maraschino cherries. They don't have the Italian variety and definitely don't carry the faux sugary preserved ones. They have their own whiskey infused cherries that are mainly featured in Manhattans (tart, sweet, whiskey). She graciously provided 6 for us to sample. Made me wish I ordered a Manhattan.

The house shot I think is called Stay Moist since it's close to their Stay Wet drink, but without the egg white. The shot tasted of lime, and hit with some spicy notes. Slightly tingly mouthfeel on occasions. Red chili as part of the infusion helped with that flavor profile.

Spring Menu (not readily apparent it's clickable on their site)

$11 drinks. I will probably be back here during the July 4th weekend. Well done, Manifesto. Your cocktails are liberated. I'm telling all my Colorado friends about you.

Notes: The proper entrance is in the alleyway. There is a doorbell you can ring. Also, their staff reads Yelp reviews and remembered my brother from our visit together, so I'll include the following. Manifesto, I truly enjoyed my experience here. I thought our waitress was great. She kept checking in with us, but admitted she was frantically busy with that large group. Even then, she gave us time to answer a couple questions before we ordered. I appreciate her being up front with us. The bumps we experienced were mild and did not detract from our overall experience.

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