When developing this winged number for this bar, perched in the sky on top of the new Thompson Hotel downtown, Nest beverage manager John Nugent (formerly at Re:public, also brand ambassador for a number of spirits) was playing around with variations on the ever popular Manhattan. A legendary cocktail, the Manhattan was created in New York in the latter part of the 1800s; its combination of bourbon or rye, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters and a cherry became deservedly famous and remains one of the most ordered drinks today. While the end result here is certainly its own animal, the Manhattan’s legacy is shown in The Eagle’s bourbon base and through the slightly bitter Punt e Mes vermouth.
The Eagle takes off along its own path with the addition of coffee (infused with the bourbon), the slightly spicy ancho chile liqueur Ancho Reyes and orange-tinged Italian aperitif Aperol. The result is java-forward, but with many other mingling flavors: a smidge of heat echoing Mexico, a touch of citrus, herbal vermouth undertones and hints of chocolate from a dash of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, all served over a giant ice block chipped off an even larger block by The Nest’s bartenders. It’s an ideal drink to sip and savor while sitting and watching the sun set, as The Nest’s remarkable 13th-floor rooftop views overlooking Elliott Bay, the mountains and islands beyond are perhaps the finest in the city. (A tip: the house-roasted and -spiced nuts match it perfectly.)
You can fly The Eagle at home without much trouble (though you will have to do some infusing). If you want to buy a block of ice (check with your local grocer) from which to chip a big chunk off with a mallet and chisel, go for it—just be very careful. But you can also serve this over some sturdy ice cubes, or pick up a Tovolo king cube ice tray on Amazon, which makes larger, 2-inch-square cubes (the larger cubes take longer to melt, resulting in less water in the drink).
Thompson Hotel, downtown
110 Stewart St.
Reservations are recommended and some reservations include a fee, but the fee is applied toward your bill.
1 ½ ounces coffee-infused bourbon*
½ ounce Punt e Mes
¼ ounce Aperol
¼ ounce Ancho Reyes
1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
»Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Stir well.
»Add one giant ice cube, or a few good-size ice cubes, to an old fashioned glass. Strain the mix into the glass.
* Recipe for coffee-infused bourbon
An odd pairing, yes, but The Lounge (opening next week) is a cool new spot