Try A Rye Manhattan At Crockett's Tavern

It was a lovely evening out in the fresh air with my favorite people in the world. We were early for our Hoop-Dee-Do reservation and I had heard tell about the Rye Manhattan served around Disney World, so I ordered one up from the Crockett's Tavern walk-up window.

Crockett's offers a small cabin style bar attached to the Trail's End Cafe in the settlement section of Fort Wilderness. Inside there are there is a regular bar set up where folks can gather and sit, but outside they also have an ingenious walk up window that caters to the pre-show crowd for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Dinner Show. Guests are able to grab a drink from the window and then sit back in a rocking chair on the front porch, or explore the area around Pioneer Hall.

Here they serve up the Standard Disney Drink Menu that is available in most of the other bars and lounges around property. Now, you have to know that I'm not much of a "go out drinking" kind of guy, so the price tag for my cocktail ($11 plus tip, as I recall) was a little eye-popping if you're not expecting it, which I wasn't. But that's neither here nor there.

Crockett's Tavern Walk-up WindowCrockett's Tavern Walk-up Window

The first thing that I noticed was the beautiful amber color in the glass. The second thing that I noticed was the somewhat fruity scent coming out of it, which I was surprised at. Remember, I'm not a big drinker, so I didn't have any real idea what a Manhattan was, other than a beverage made with hard liquor. It turns out that Disney's version contains the following.

Bulleit Rye Small Batch American Whiskey, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, and Angostura Bitters, garnished with Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries

I lifted the glass to get a better whiff, and got a double-whammy of fruit and alcohol. Did I mention the surprise of the fruit? At first, I took the garnish out of the glass and took a sip, only to discover that I'm not a big fan of spirits. However, I could definitely appreciate the complexity of the flavors rolling around on my tongue: Woody, smokey, and... Fruity? Again with the tantalizing fruit! I put the garnish back in the glass, and took another sip, to try to figure out where that fantastic fruit was coming from, only to discover that it was in fact coming from the amazing Luxardo gourmet cherries. Swirling them around in the glass to spread the love made me appreciate the flavors even more, with the sweet/tart of the cherries and the woody burn of the rye whiskey.

A Rye Manhattan Is On the Standard Disney Cocktail MenuA Rye Manhattan Is On the Standard Disney Cocktail Menu

Let me tell you, I could have drank the cherry juice all by itself. I love cherries, but these were CHERRIES. Robust, powerful, yet soft-spoken on the tongue. They were a fantastic accent to the whiskey. The worst part is that there were only three of them on the pick. For having such amazing flavor, they were teeny tiny little things, each about the size of a regular gumball.

I can't say that I loved the rye Manhattan, but I didn't not like it. Even when it comes to things that I don't enjoy, flavor wise, I can and often appreciate them on their own merits, and this was definitely a meritorious drink. Would I order it again? Maybe, particularly if I was in the mood to channel my inner Mad Men. But those cherries... I would eat a bunch of them on their own!

Thanks so much to Geordon V. for this guest post. You can read more from Geordon at his blog Hurricane Dad.

MrHub wrote on Sat, 04/04/2015 - 00:03:

MrHub's picture

Well I am one person that loves this Manhattan but I also have a general love for Whiskey in general. The Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries are were some of the cost plays into factor for this drink too at $17 a jar plus shipping to the US from Italy. That being said, they are a perfect match for the Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and bitters. Cheers!

JMed wrote on Sat, 04/04/2015 - 18:16:

JMed's picture

I may have to try this one! Sounds delish!

Keith wrote on Sun, 04/05/2015 - 16:24:

Keith's picture

As a Manhattan aficionado I can tell you that these components make a very fine drink, especially the Carpano Antica....arguably the finest of the sweet vermouths. Interesting that you only appreciated the cherries.

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