4 Olives fun
We drive over to Manhattan, Kansas, perhaps a dozen times a year, but have somehow never made it to 4 Olives Wine Bar—until last weekend. We had a rare night away from the kiddos and so headed to the west end of Anderson in search of good food and good cocktails. We found ’em. Scott Benjamin opened the place in 2004, and his menu is inventive and expansive. The bar’s even better. It’s stocked with all the go-to spirits of the day, with everything from Luxardo Maraschino and Domaine de Canton ginger to Tuthilltown’s Baby Bourbon, cachaça, mezcal and an impressive selection of gins. They make liqueurs like limoncello from scratch, concoct bitters and syrups and charge their own soda water. They’re even making tonic water, an aromatic and complex mixer that tastes better than anything you can buy in a bottle. The husband had the Elderfashioned, made with Wild Turkey rye (they were out of Rittenhouse) and St-Germain elderflower, stirred and served with an orange twist. Of course I had to order a Tale of Two Fridas, bartender Travis Stewart’s entry in the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition finals. His recipe is below, but it’s worth a detour off I-70 to have Stewart make it for you.
Tale of Two Fridas
4 large watermelon balls, about 2 ounces
3 mint leaves
2 ounces Milagro Blanco Tequila
1/4 ounce Madhava Amber Agave Nectar
splash lime juice (less than 1/4 ounce)
pinch of fleur del sel
splash St. George Absinthe (less than 1/4 ounce)
Cucumber skin laced watermelon ball on a bamboo cocktail pick, to garnish
Directions: Ice down a martini glass. Gently muddle the watermelon and mint leaves in a shaker glass. Add tequila, agave nectar, lime juice and fleur del sel. Remove ice from martini glass and rinse with absinthe. Shake remaining ingredients with ice and double strain into the martini glass. Garnish with a cucumber skin laced melon ball on a bamboo pick.