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BEST COCKTAILS Minneapolis 2008 - Manhattans

There are plenty of places in town to get a great cocktail, but only one serves up an adult libation so happily reminiscent of childhood as the "Rock Star" ($9.50) at Manhattans. From the "Champagne Cocktails" portion of the restaurant and bar's extensive drink menu, it's a concoction of Three Olives cherry vodka, champagne, and ginger beer, with a gorgeous star fruit garnish. But there's one more ingredient, which the menu coyly refers to as "a little essence of rock 'n' roll." We've never been good at keeping secrets, so here's the spoiler: Pop Rocks. The crackling candies add just enough pop to the drink to be really fun—the liquid, even carbonated, seems to tone down the Pop Rocks' effect, contrary to the exploding-stomach urban legends. The drink isn't just gimmicky, it's delicious. Manhattans also makes a lovely "Minneappletini." It features fresh apple puree to jazz up the flavor and is served with a cherry and a bent spoon in homage to the famous work of art in the Sculpture Garden. If that's all a little too cute for you, don't worry: The skilled bartenders here also know how to mix a perfect classic. But even a martini purist will have a hard time resisting the "Vesper Lynd," fashioned after James Bond's preferred drink in the novel Casino Royale.

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