The best Manhattan in Denver starts at Absinthe Bar.

'The best Manhattan in Denver? Fine. Dealing with swanky bars, intricate recipes, and smoky whiskey? Not my thing though.

Some places, they’ve got this energy – a vibe that’s unique to them. Now, Manhattan’s a bit of a cipher in that regard. You think you’ve wrapped your head around it, but the moment you think you have a handle on it, it pivots and changes. And that… it’s not a negative. No. It’s what makes it, arguably, the best Manhattan.

Picture this. The city that never sleeps – humming with a life of its own, streets bristling with every flavor of human existence. Skyscrapers weaving stories in the stars, parks peppered with dreams, and roads crisscrossing like veins pumping life into every corner. Step into it, and you’re stepping into a city alive and thriving with possibilities.

Then there’re the spots. You have Carnegie, Met, Central Park. It’s not just their fame, it’s the essence they embody – a melting pot of arts, science, nature, all smeared with a tinge of history. Can’t forget Wall Street and Times Square either. Different vibe, same energy. It’s a testament to what humanity has pitched and built. You feel the hustle, the ambition, and it’s addictive – infectious really. And that’s why it’s the best Manhattan.

Manhattan’s Historical Narrative

The beast that is Manhattan has a history that’s both dark and fascinating, lousy with countless footprints of extraordinary figures. This isn’t about glorifying the shadowy anecdotes though. Just laying down facts. You can draw your own interpretations.

The Dutch colonists were the first to lay claim to the island, trading it off for just $24 worth of trinkets. Buildings started to sprawl out, only to be eventually replaced by skyscrapers and the towering symbols of modern success. Hamilton and Burr danced their deadly waltz here. A dark tale ending with an infamous duel, resulting in Hamilton’s demise and Burr living the rest of his life under a cloud of dispute.

There’s hardly anything that thrums the same rhythm as Manhattan. Call it its heartbeat if you will. Sinatra charmed and captivated audiences in smoky lounges while Warhol masterminded his artistic revolution. It has kept one eye open as time rolled by, witnessing characters, tragedies, triumphs, and transformations. To every faceless wanderer, well-known writer, singer, artist, who’ve drawn breath and found inspiration within her, Manhattan has offered a toast, with a drink strong enough to match its history.

Celebrate Smooth The best  Manhattan in Denver

Recipe: The Best Manhattan

I don’t usually share my secrets, nor do I spend any particular time crafting beverages. But you’ve asked, so I’ll tell you how to make what you so fervently called ‘The Best Manhattan’. Just remember, don’t blame me if your hand’s not steady enough.


  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Dash of Orange Bitters
  • 1 Maraschino Cherry
  • 1 Twist of Orange Peel

Straight to the point, just how I prefer it. First, put the ice in a mixing glass, pour the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and all the bitters. Stir it well. More than well. Perfection demands diligence, and in this, there are no shortcuts. And don’t even think about shaking it. I don’t want to see a single bubble. Now, strain your concoction into a chilled cocktail glass. Lastly, garnish it with the cherry and an orange twist. Or don’t. It’s your drink after all. Just remember to drink it slowly. It’s not a race, and there’s no one chasing you.

Manhattan Cocktail in Denver

‘Denver’s Top Spots for Manhattan Cocktail’

  • Name: The Cruise Room, Address: 1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202
  • Name: Cooper Lounge, Address: 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
  • Name: Union Lodge No.1, Address: 1543 Champa St, Denver, CO 80202

The Cruise Room, an art deco oasis, serves an exquisite Manhattan. The balance they strike between the whiskey and the vermouth is an exercise in understated elegance. It’s like finding an unexpected ally in a room full of strangers. Cooper Lounge, perched above the hustle of Union Station, offers a classier edge for the cocktail enthusiasts. Their Manhattan iteration carries a hint of complexity which is a little like solving a puzzle, it’s deceptively simple but thoroughly engaging. Meanwhile, Union Lodge No.1 draws in you with its speakeasy vibe and keeps you seated with their stellar drinks menu. The Manhattan here feels clandestine, something you’d want to keep under your hat. It’s outstanding without drawing unnecessarily attention, sort of its very own silent revolution.

Sip Well-crafted The best  Manhattan in Denver

Manhattan's Cultural Highlights

Don’t assume the island’s only appeal lies within towering steel structures or the electrified megawatt bulbs adorning Times Square. It offers an abundance of annual fairs, exciting contests and cultural festivities that draw crowds worldwide, enriching the cityscape with unique, vibrant energy, not replicated elsewhere.

Initiate with the Tribute in Light, an installation occurring in September that marks the solemn day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Two incandescent columns ascend, kissing the night sky, signalling mourning and beyond that, resilience. Stepping into October, the New Yorker Festival steals the show, where leading artists, thinkers, technocrats, and enthusiasts share insights. Complete the setting with fervent discussions, performances, and intimate conversations, providing an intellectual platter for the masses.

On the fun side, chug beers at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in June, celebrated on the solstice, manifesting a spectacle of garish, creative costumes mimicking mythical sea creatures. Not to forget the New York Film Festival and the Village Halloween Parade. Whether smitten by cinema or transfixed by ghoulish get-ups, there’s always some niche to tap into. So, the city’s got more than just an apple, it’s a bouquet of enthralling surprises.

Crafting an Unforgettable Manhattan

Quality is key when you’re mixing any cocktail, Manhattan is no exception. Don’t fool yourself into thinking cheap bourbon will somehow transcend its roots when balanced by sweet vermouth and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters. It won’t. Splurge for the good stuff. If you wouldn’t sip on it straight, don’t mix with it. Keep things cold. Refrigerate your vermouth after opening, and chill your glassware by storing it in the freezer or filling with ice water before you’re ready to mix.

As for garnishes, a cocktail cherry is traditional, but why not elevate the drink with a bit of a twist? Instead of a single maraschino cherry, you could try combining both a cherry and a twist of orange peel for a subtly different flavor profile and an attractive dual garnish. Or make a batch of brandied cherries at home to use as an indulgent uplift. Also consider changing up your bitters. Angostura is the classic choice, but orange or even something floral like lavender can make your cocktail an exciting reinterpretation of the Manhattan we all know and love.

Discover Balancing The best  Manhattan in Denver

Perfecting the Classic Cocktail Experience

Leading rules first, precision and care must dominate your actions. Mix two ounces of rye whisky, half ounce of sweet vermouth, a dash of Angostura bitters, and a dash of orange bitters. Serve it in a short tumbler, called a lowball. The glass ought to be chilled—cold as the heart of your worst enemy. Stir your concoction with ice, but avoid shaking it like a maraca. Shaking introduces tiny air bubbles which can cause the drink to appear cloudy, and the drink should be as clear as your conscience.

For the garnish, a cherry is the norm; its sweetness will cut through the liquor, just enough to unmask the subtler notes you’re paying for. Use a high quality brand, not a candied cough sweet, you don’t want to corrupt it with poor artifice. Ice is optional; some find it dilutes the flavor over time.

The burn of the whiskey already evokes aheady warmth, so room temperature is fitting. The grit should marry the smooth, just like life. As for pairings, dark chocolate can hold its own against the robust cocktail, the bitterness mirroring and balancing the depth of the drink. Blue cheese is another sturdy comrade, its strong, tangy taste complements the sweetness. Spicy foods make a good contrast. The swelter of a chili pepper against the soothing cool of the cocktail—they duel, they dance—it’s perfect drama for your palate. So, now you know. Don’t mess with perfection, honor the details.

Consumer Trends in the Manhattan Cocktail Market

Observing the strides in market trends, the point of focal interest manifests in the passion for finely-crafted ingredients, particularly those going organic or locally generated. There’s a cogent push signifying the staggering gravitational pull of consumers towards these “closer-to-nature” variants. Stepping up from generic to meticulously selected ingredients is the newly crowned sovereign, altering the structure of the marketplace.

Similarly, there arises another intriguing shift in preference – an inclination towards something that keeps the taste buds tangling for more. Fueled by the love for ‘something more’ than just the traditional, there is a surge in the allure for more audacious options. Versions that up the ante on spice levels rake in their fair share of attention. A startling concoction of the classic with a strikingly piquant twist is marking its territory as a definitive crowd-pleaser.

Humorous Take on the Best Manhattan Cocktail in Denver

You know, there’s something fundamentally amusing about the Manhattan cocktail scene in Denver. No, not in a laugh-out-loud, slap-your-knee kind of way, more like a subtle, dry humor. You see, in the endless pursuit of perfecting the Manhattan, they’ve endowed it with such variety that you might as well be sorting through a deck of wild cards. Each variant is akin to a unique fingerprint – no two the same. It’s like playing a never-ending game of Clue where the cocktail is always the guilty party, but the components change every time. Talk about keeping your taste buds on their toes.

I appreciate you taking the time to trudge through my long-winded commentary on the Denver’s cocktail circus. It’s been an enthralling ride, full of garnished twists and spirited turns. As murky as this cocktail world may seem, it’s the mystery that keeps pulling me back in. Just remember, in this city, surprises lurk in the bottom of every glass, and the elusive ‘perfect Manhattan’ is always just a sip away.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly skewed gaze into the realm of Denver’s Manhattans. Feel free to swing by again, anytime. Whether you’re here for a quick chuckle or to embolden your pursuit of Manhattan mastery, there’s always a seat at the bar. Until next time, keep your drinks strong and your spirits high.


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