Carthay Diamond Manhattan @ Carthay Circle Lounge

Price: $11.50

When: July 30, 2015, 5:10 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Recommended

The Carthay Circle Lounge is one of “those” places at Disneyland, where you can take friends who are first-time or rarely-visiting guests and open their eyes to the unexpected, delightful corners of the park. After bringing friends here, the phrase I hear most often is, “OK. Now I get why you like the parks so much.”

Theme parks can be exhausting, and most parks limit their beverage offerings to water, sodas, and (if you’re lucky) a Bud Light (I’m looking at you, Six Flags Magic Mountain). Disney, on the other hand, elected to put a full-blown bar inside the Carthay Circle, and then create some signature cocktails to go with it.

It was surprising, ambitious … and it’s totally paid off.

The flagship cocktail at the Carthay Circle Lounge is the Carthay Manhattan. It’s a classic Manhattan, served with a sphere of purified ice and three brandied cherries. For Disneyland’s 60th, the Carthay is now offering the “Carthay Diamond Manhattan” – the same drink, but with an ice diamond instead of a sphere.

The Carthay Diamond Manhattan is a terrific cocktail. The blend of the whiskey, vermouth, and bitters is perfectly done; the ice prevents the drink from becoming too watery; the cherries are served as a complement, rather than in the drink.

Bad Manhattans are surprisingly easy to make: too boozy, too vermouth-y, too watery … there’s an endless list of sins. The Carthay Diamond Manhattan, on the other hand, is the kind of thing you would get at any restaurant or bar that knows what the hell it’s doing. The fact that it’s served inside one of the most popular theme parks in America, rather than at, say, The Edison, is the real surprise.

Order one of these on your next visit. You’ll love it.