Feature: The Fig Manhattan
The Manhattan is the ultimate in libation sophistication. Since its invention in the 1860s, the Manhattan has been venerated by cocktail aficionados across the country and associated with cultural icons from Frank Sinatra to Sex and the City. In the classic cocktail book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (Doubleday, 1948), David A. Embury categorizes the Manhattan as one of the six basic drinks from which all cocktails are derived—kind of like the mother sauces of mixology. The other basic drinks are the Martini, the Old Fashioned, the Daiquiri, the Sidecar, and the Jack Rose.
This season, Sel de la Terre Back Bay offers the Fig Manhattan, a fantastic spin on the classic. The cocktail was devised by General Manager Ian Grossman who finds both fig and bourbon evocative of fall, or, as he puts it, “sweater weather.”
Each week, Ian cuts dried figs into quarters and boils them in cooking bourbon until they are plump and juicy. He then lets the figs cool and puts them in a jar with Jim Beam.
The infusion sits for at least a week before use. The cocktail consists of 2 ½ ounces infused bourbon and ½ ounce sweet vermouth, garnished with a bourbon-soaked fig slice. Ian has experimented with fig in cocktails in the past that were more complex, but is particularly happy with this concoction. “The simplicity allows the flavor of the fig to sing,” he explains. Woodsy, warming, and elegant, a Fig Manhattan is the perfect cocktail for a crisp fall day in Boston. Try one coupled with the grilled flatbread with smoked chicken, black Mission figs, pickled onions, Comté, and fried sage from our award-winning bar menu.
Embury writes that the effect of a well-made cocktail should be that “Taut nerves relax; taut muscles relax; tired eyes brighten; tongues loosen; friendships deepen; the whole world becomes a better place in which to live.” Join us on Boylston Street and experience just that!