LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS — We met René Carlton yesterday, sitting at the bar of a new restaurant that had just opened in her neighborhood. She is a creature of comfort, so this is a test-run. René has been drinking Manhattans for decades. They’ve seen her through the bad times and the worse. A nice Manhattan will make René a regular for life.
“Yeah, they used to shake them in the pint glass, you know? Then put that little cherry in it. That’s how I liked them when I was younger. As my tastes progressed, so did the trends. They use the same ingredients now, but it’s silky and refined… Just like me!” René went on waxing poetic about the times the Manhattan has been there for her.
“Hello, welcome to Pernil Palace, can I get some drinks started?” asked the bartender. I noticed the word HOSPITALITY tattooed on his hand as he refilled our waters.
“I would love a Bourbon Manhattan.”
“Oh, if you like Manhattans, let me show you this one on our predominantly rum menu,” responded the bartender, while standing in front of a shelf with 5 bourbons. “Have you ever had a Rumscullion? It’s like a Manhattan, but with El Do and Punt e Mes. You’ll love it.”
“I guess so,” responded René hesitantly, not wanting to be rude but not knowing what the heck he just said. After the bartender walks away, she turns to us with an uncertain face and a shrug.
“I hope I get a Manhattan.”