With an upswing of craft cocktail bars around Denver through the past few years, the true Mile High classics can oft be forgotten. My Brother’s Bar stands as the oldest operating bar in Denver* but probably isn’t your first stop for a craft cocktail. That doesn’t mean the bartenders can’t shake or stir up something special for you.
During a visit to the historic haunt on 15th and Platte, longtime bartender Jimmy Hayde introduced me to a different kind of Manhattan—an 8-minute Manhattan (or 10-minutes, if the bar is busy). Hayde, who comes from a long family line of New York bartenders, says he learned to make this style of Manhattan from his grandfather who was taught by the man who created the cocktail.
This recipe sticks to the traditional ingredients with your choice of bourbon or rye, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, but takes a turn when preparing it. Hayde combines the ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice, stirs, and stores the sealed shaker in an ice bath for 8-10 minutes. The result is a boozy, yet elegant cocktail you can only get if Hayde is behind the bar.
While you slowly sip on the signature Manhattan and pore over the burger selections, be sure to get some stories from Hayde about his days in the Empire State—especially the one about when he worked for the Rockefeller family. Much like the bar he tends, Hayde always has an animated tale to tell.
*Technically, Buckhorn Exchange is the oldest legal bar in Denver (opened in 1893) since it owns liquor license number 1, but My Brother’s is still the oldest continually operating bar in the city as it opened in 1873.
My Brother’s Bar is located at 2376 15th Street, Denver, Colorado and is open from 11 – 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays). Its phone number is 303- 455-9991.
All Photos by Brittany Werges