Another year, another good meeting with the boss at the Fairmont Newport Beach, a spot with great drinks that I can only afford when the jefe pays the bill. The hooch this time? The Italian Scotsman, which is curiously listed under the bar's Manhattan collection.
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What makes a Scotch-based cocktail part of the Manhattan family? The sweet vermouth, of course, but also the use of Luxardo for an added oomph of bittersweetness. There's another Manhattan on the list called the Perfect, but consider this one the Improved: harsh, strong, with a cooling finish that's even more satisfying than the Perfect. Here's to hoping I can do my yearly Fairmont Newport review next year!
Fairmont Newport Beach, 4500 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 476-2001; www.fairmont.com/NewportBeach