The 3rd Annual Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience concluded in, where else, Manhattan this week with Joann Spiegel, a bartender from – hey – Manhattan crowned the winner. Here is her recipe:

2 oz Woodford Reserve

1/2 oz vermouth

1/4 oz creme de cacao

1/4 oz Lapsang tea syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

After it went up on Woodford’s Facebook page, several posters complained that, even if it tastes fantastic, this cocktail is not a Manhattan. “Sorry that Woodford does not believe in the sanctity of the Manhattan,” one wrote. 

Well, true, a traditional Manhattan does not include creme de cacao or tea syrup. But how much of a competition could you have if every entrant used the same recipe? In a nod to the fact that liberties are being taken, Spiegel’s winning concoction is called “Leaving Manhattan.”

What do you think? Will you give this winner a try, or stick with the tried-and-true?

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