I was sitting at the bar at Jax in LoDo on a snowy Sunday afternoon, enjoying the quiet while also enjoying Leo's Manhattan ($10), made with New York Apple Whiskey, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry, muddled apple and pumpkin pie spice. And I couldn't have been happier. As the snow piled up outside, I realized that magically, this Manhattan tasted just like Thanksgiving. It was as warming as dinner with family and friends, and the apple-spice combination was reminiscent of pie. When my friend Brian showed up, he began regaling me with stories of his grandfather teaching him how to make a proper Manhattan when he was just ten or so. Under no circumstances was he ever to shake a Manhattan, his grandfather said, showing Brian his special mixing jar and a cherished flat spoon used to gently stir the whiskey. Soon after this lesson, the entire family got together for Thanksgiving — and Brian asked his father if he would like a Manhattan to go with his dinner. The look of horror on his father's face said it all, Brian told me; needless to say, Grandpa got a talking-to. This year, you might want to skip the pumpkin pie and mix up your own Leo's Manhattan for Thanksgiving. Or just head over to Jax as soon as your family walks out the front door.
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