The Manhattan Experience @ Gallivan Hall 10.09

Local Events

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in October and the perfect day to shimmy down to Gallivan Hall for a history lesson and sampling of a classic cocktail—the Manhattan. The Wine Academy of Utah and One Small Miracle joined together to create the Manhattan Experience, a 90-minute class on the history, story and technique of the classic cocktail. Small bites were provided by Caputos and attendees got to taste a total of three different versions of the Manhattan as it has evolved throughout the decades. It was a unique exploration of a cocktail that has gone away, come back, but ultimately, is here to stay.

Staff from The Wine Academy of Utah and One Small Miracle greeted guests as they arrived. Antonio Garcia rhythmically strummed an acoustic guitar, providing enjoyable music as everyone filtered in. Tables were covered with delicious snacks from Caputos, and the placemats gave a sneak peek of what was in store for tonight’s class on the Manhattan cocktail, with spots for three different cocktails.

Matthew (Matt) Pfohl, founder of One Small Miracle, started off the class with an introduction to the organization’s mission and its relationship with The Wine Academy of Utah. One Small Miracle is dedicated to benefiting members of Utah’s service industry who are experiencing unplanned and life-altering medical events, while the Wine Academy focuses on providing education and training to restaurants, as well as hosting wine events and on-site sommelier services. After Pfohl was done talking, James (Jimmy) Santangelo took the stage to express his gratitude for the partnership and excitement he had for the Manhattan Experience.

The first version—and what seems to be the “original” version of the Manhattan—made with rye whiskey, Italian vermouth, Boker’s bitters and a brandied cherry was distributed throughout the tables. This cocktail paired perfectly with the salted almonds. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and a sense of anticipation was in the air as the second version of the Manhattan was being made. This rendition was a blended whiskey Manhattan that also included French vermouth and citrus bitters. You could definitely taste the orange in this one! It paired nicely with the crackers, which we spread with orange marmalade and the variety of cheeses. The third and final Manhattan featured a sweet bourbon, Italian vermouth and Angostura bitters. As guests sipped their cocktails, Jimmy did a beautiful job of guiding everyone through all the evolutions of this classic cocktail—from the 1800s to a modern day Manhattan. You could clearly see his enthusiasm and sense his expertise on the beloved cocktail.

When the class ended, the attendees partook in conversation over everything they had learned, and you could hear chatter about which version of the Manhattan was their favorite. I loved the first version made with a rye whiskey—that cherry was so good! The Manhattan Experience was an overall wonderful experience, and it made it even better knowing that One Small Miracle was benefiting from it all. –Lexi Kiedaisch 


Photos: Lexi Kiedaisch // lexi@slugmag.com

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