Drinks like The Passionate Englishman and Passionfruit Mojito elicit more oohs and ahs at Flamme but the happy hour prices on Manhattans have their own wow factor. Those Manhattans are half-price from 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM daily, listed with sweet, dry and “perfect” options, and as good a deal as you will find in town, especially on Tuesdays, when bartender Paul Mathew is usually on hand.
I recently had two perfect Manhattans, one made with Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey and one made with three-year-old cask-strength Willet Straight Rye Whiskey. Each included 55 ml of whiskey, 12 ml of Martini Rosso, 12 ml of Nolly Prat and a Bourbon-soaked cherry. Total cost: rmb85, with the Templeton at rmb45 (regular rmb90) and the Willet at rmb40 (regular rmb80), superb value given the price for a shot of either one of these at many bars in town. And there are more options. A Maker’s Mark Manhattan, for example, is rmb35 during happy hour.
I found the Templeton dry and clean, with a grainy texture, light caramel and fruit flavors, and a slightly tannic finish. On the other hand, the Willet had more viscosity, some plummy flavors brought out by the whiskey and vermouth, and a spicy and slightly bitter finish. Think I’m full of crap? Give them a try. Even if you disagree with my descriptions, I bet you find the experiment fun, especially at those prices.