News Column

America's Best Manhattan Comes from... Detroit?

Jan. 12, 2013

Sylvia Rector

manhattan contest, woodford reserve, cocktail, alcohol, recipe

Jan. 12--What bartender makes America's best Manhattan?

According to judges in the Woodford Reserve Master of the Manhattan contest held in Manhattan -- where else? -- it's Travis Fourmont of Roast restaurant at the Westin Book Cadillac hotel in Detroit.

Fourmont of Berkley was one of six national finalists who competed for the title on Jan. 7, mixing his variation of the classic drink for a panel of celebrity judges. The competitors were chosen in local and regional contests.

A Manhattan is made with bitters, vermouth and whiskey. For his Midnight Manhattan, Fourmont said, "I just removed the vermouth and added a mixture of Italian Amaro and a little Compari and a little cherry liqueur. We tried to concentrate as much flavor as possible" into the drink.

A great Manhattan, he says, depends on the proportions among the whiskey and the other ingredients, "and now that whiskey is so good, you want it to be whiskey forward. You want to taste the whiskey."

His drink, created especially for the Master of the Manhattan contest, is designed to be an after-dinner drink. It's available at the bar at Roast, where "we've been selling them like crazy," he says.

The recipe is on the Woodford Reserve website at

Fourmont -- whose 32nd birthday was the day of the competition -- and Roast executive chef Andy Hollyday will appear on ABC's "The Chew" today at 1 p.m. as audience members seated at the show's tasting table. Celebrity chef Michael Symon -- the owner of Roast -- is one of five hosts on "The Chew."


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