Cocktail Menu – Manifesto, Kansas City, MO
I love bars of the high form. These are the true havens of superlative mixology whose bartenders mix creativity and science, history and instinct to evolve ideas into truly memorable potations all in the service of a single guest. These bars take various forms. They can be retro spirited speakeasies, bars welcoming guests into the best restaurants or even the type that embodies the soul of a dive bar with pool table, darts and canned beer on the menu. They all share a population of highly curious people that raise cocktail geekery to a much higher calling. Those lucky enough to find themselves in Kansas City may experience just such a place hiding at 1924 Main Street. Called Manifesto, this is unquestionably a speakeasy with a foot firmly anchored in the past.
The ethic is pre-prohibition with many of the house cocktails riffing on the classics. According to Beau Williams, one of the master mixologists at Manifesto, the goal is to create each drink with care and originality while focusing on classic principles. The group is also developing their own infusions and bitters for use in future cocktails.
Manifesto only has forty-eight seats and, much like PDT in New York, takes reservations on a same day basis only. This is no night club. Manifesto is a place to come for a world class cocktail with like minded friends. It is for this reason, I believe, that the house cocktail menu is so expansive. While most bars have a list of ten or so libations showcased, Manifesto offers twenty-eight and have broken the list down by base spirit. The bartenders here can take the extra time it takes to create some of these masterpieces without worrying about trying to tend to the next three hundred orders. This is liquid craft with the bartenders mind as much a part of the performance as the drinks themselves.
There is so much to like on this menu. Here are a few drinks that caught my eye.
- The Girl From Cadiz mixes Hendrick’s and Lustau Fino Sherry with lemon, mint and dried juniper berries.
- The Beautiful Red Bell actually has red bell pepper mixed with lime, mint and Beefeater.
- The Brothers Perryman continues the trend of gin and St. Germain drinks that are popping up a lot these days.
- The Smokin’ Choke is a clever combination of Applewood smoked Four Roses bourbon, Cynar, maple syrup with lemon and orange zest. I could spend a few hours with this one.
- My favorite may be the Jackson Co. Democratic Club Cocktail, a combination of Rittenhouse tye, Luxardo, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon and Regan’s orange bitters.
- The solution to any of life’s problems, Manfiesto offers La Prohibida, Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, Fig Syrup and lime. Tranquillo.
Next time you are in Kansas City, check out Manifesto. These are true craftspeople who care about what they do. The world would be a much better place if more people put this much heart into their work.
Their cocktail menu is shown below. It was cropped to make it easier to read online. You can see and print the full menu here.
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