You can’t throw a t-bone without hitting a steakhouse in Chicago, but some will always stand out in the crowd. I don’t care about dinosaur sized cuts or the name of the cow they killed – all that matters is the meat, drinks, and atmosphere. Morton’s nails all three in one cocktail with the State Street Manhattan.
Any steakhouse worth is weight in free-range, non-GMO, organic gluten-free kosher salt can make a steak on par with the rest. You aren’t going to see a high-end steakhouse slinging sub-par cuts of beef. That doesn’t mean they can’t do interesting things with those steaks though, like the cajun ribeye that nearly screamed “eat me” on the Morton’s menu. The server said that it was her favorite, and while I’m sure she says that to all the guys, it was one of the best hunks of dead flesh I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming.
Morton’s has the atmosphere nailed, too, right down to roving platter of fresh meat, photos of famous people on the wall, and the classic steakhouse manager, in this case Raki Mehra, making the rounds and talking to every table. We’re here to talk about drinks though, and good lord do they have that covered.
Sure they have a ridiculously long wine list, with everything from juice bottled before my birth to easy glasses that still play perfectly with steak. I’m all about the cocktails though, and the State Street Manhattan is a new absolute favorite.
I don’t venture too far from the traditional Manhattan. Much like a traditional steakhouse, why mess with greatness? I’ll always give something new and interesting a shot though, especially when it involves an extravagant process.
The State Street Manhattan takes Woodford Reserve bourbon and Carpano Antica vermouth and infuses it through Luxardo cherries and orange peel using a cold drip coffee maker. The figurative cherry on top? Steak. That’s right, they garnish the cocktail with slice of New York strip. It’s tastes great, looks fun, and is unique enough that I walked away with it on my mind for days.
I can’t think of a more fitting garnish for such a classic cocktail than a piece of steak. I like that they didn’t create an entirely new drink and just slap the name “Manhattan” on it so people would buy it. One sip and you know the State Street Manhattan is exactly that… a Manhattan. The cocktail just happens to be kicked up a few notches, like if Guy Fieri got his hands on it in the best possible way.
The party isn’t over until you’ve had dessert, and in walks the Morton’s Coffee. Admittedly I drank it too fast to take a picture, and for that I apologize. This tall drink of happiness is Disaronno, Baileys, Dark Crème de Cacao combined and topped with coffee, then finished with fresh whipped cream (the only kind worth eating) and a cinnamon sugar rim. Who needs cake, pie, or anything else when you can end every meal with a coffee cocktail?
I can’t afford weekly dinners at a steakhouse, but the State Street Manhattan will definitely have me ponying up to the bar at Morton’s for happy hour quite a bit this winter.