Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Cocktail alert: Sip Manhattans Mar. 6 at Manhattan Experience plus, vote for Atlanta to win Patrón's Margarita of the Year

2017 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience, Mar 6., 7 p.m., Free with RSVP 

Are you ready for a round or two of Manhattans, Atlanta? Head to Establishment in Midtown at 7 p.m. Mar. 6 to sip the classic cocktail created with Woodford Reserve bourbons while you cheer on this year’s contenders at the Manhattan Experience bartending competition.

Eight bartenders from around Atlanta will be concocting their riffs on the classic whiskey and sweet vermouth cocktail in hopes of being crowned victor. The winner will then move on to the semifinals at Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky at the end of March.

Competitors will be tasked with creating an original cocktail using Woodford’s Double Oaked bourbon as well as their “ideal” recipe for the classic Manhattan crafted with Distiller’s Select. This year’s judges include Kyle Tibbs Jones of The Bitter Southerner, Gray Chapman editor for Tales of the Cocktail and USBG-Atlanta President Anthony Porquez.

2017 Atlanta contenders:

Matthew Murphy -- Three Blind Mice

Corey Phillips -- Bellina Alimentari

Graham Lansford -- Drift Fish House and Oyster Bar

Natasha Horton -- Supply And Demand

Bobby Gover -- Cheeky Taqueria

Mitchell Payton -- Cafe 33

Jenique Mincey -- The Southern Gentleman

Damian Clark -- Establishment

In addition to two complimentary drinks, a chance to sip all of the competitors’ creations and light bites during the event, guests can enter to win a copper bartender toolkit. All proceeds from the raffle will go to The Giving Kitchen.

Reserve your spot by sending an email with “Manhattan Experience” in the subject line to . The Manhattan Experience is a free, first come, first served event. UBER is highly suggested. A discount code will be provided for your fare at the event.

Establishment, Mar. 6, 7 p.m., FREE with RSVP, Colony Square Mall, 1197 Peachtree St. NE #517, Atlanta. 404-347-5291,


Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi sipping on Shaun Gordon's High Plains margarita in Mexico. Photo courtesy of Patrón Tequila

Patrón’s 2017 Margarita of the Year--Vote for Atlanta’s Shaun Gordon (VIDEO)

Let’s face it, there may be no better patio drink than a margarita. A little sweet, a little tart, a lot of tequila on ice.

Patrón Tequila is on a global hunt for the best margaritas of 2017, and our fair city has a horse (or a cocktail) in the running.

Decatur bartender Shaun Gordon of Truman Tavern and his charred pineapple and sage High Plains margarita with chipotle salt are hoping to make Atlanta home to Patrón's 2017 Margarita of the Year. Gordon presented the tequila brand with one of the best of seven riffs on the classic sour cocktail in the world during a competition in Mexico. All that remains between six other finalists and Gordon's victory is your vote, Atlanta.

Gordon said his flavor inspiration for the High Plains was drawn from childhood memories of summers growing up in Maine, “If it was a nice night, my family was always outside on our deck grilling different ingredients. I remember how things tasted when we got a good char on them so, I started incorporating charred ingredients into my drinks. It can add a hint of smokiness and bitterness to your cocktail.  I think pineapple always works great with a twist on a margarita.”

The High Plains margarita is currently leading the pack of seven finalists. But it’s up to Atlantans to crown the marg champion of the world by simply casting a vote (daily) at For all you social media types, a vote also counts for Gordon when you tag your photo of the High Plains using #highplainsmargarita on Twitter and Instagram.

The winner will be announced on Apr. 9.

Check out Shaun Gordon creating the High Plains, then head to Truman Tavern to grab one for yourself--or make it at home, if you’re so inclined.

How to Make the High Plains Margarita from Patrón Tequila on Vimeo.

Truman Tavern, 123 East Court Square, Decatur. 404-907-4116,

Read more of our coverage of the Atlanta bar scene

4 new Atlanta-distilled spirits to add to your home bar

We predict Atlanta’s top 5 cocktail trends for 2017

10 best drinks of 2016 in Atlanta

Why aren’t you drinking aperitif cocktails?

Read The A List: The faces, places, dishes and drinks defining the Atlanta dining scene right now

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following@ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.


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The Food & Dining Team offers reviews, previews, food news and fun bites food trends for metro Atlanta’s vast food and dining scene.

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