Congratulations to the bar team at One MICHELIN Star Manzke in LA, the winners of the 2022 MICHELIN Guide California Exceptional Cocktails award! Manzke offers a unique cocktail program made with vintage spirits. As part of the 2022 MICHELIN Guide California launch, we chatted with the bar team—bar director Shawn Lickliter, and bartenders Blake Antrobus and Kyle Bailey—about sipping tea, French fries and Champagne, and low-ABV cocktails. Presented in partnership with Rémy Martin.
What are you drinking these days?
Shawn Lickliter: Armagnac, specifically a 1975 Domaine Boingeres Bas Armagnac. In the cooler months I tend to drink more brown spirits, and armagnac is more rustic but, as a whiskey lover, it still holds its own.
Blake Antrobus: I've really been enjoying the single barrel whiskey that Shawn selected for a collaboration between our sister restaurant, République, and Rare Character Whiskey. We've been using it in cocktails and guests are also able to pick up a bottle at the retail wall at République, which is pretty great.
Kyle Bailey: 1989 Château de Pellehaut Armagnac and Coors Banquet.
What's your non-alcoholic drink of choice?
SL: Matcha. I like the ceremonial aspect of preparing tea.
BA: Guaraná Antarctica, a soft drink that is ubiquitous in Brazil.
KB: Fisher Estates sparkling nettle tea.
What's your ideal meal and pairing?
SL: The highest-quality prime, dry-aged ribeye cooked slowly over a wood fire and Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Champagne.
BA: Chef Margarita [Lorenzana-Manzke]'s baguette with Rodolphe Le Meunier butter, vintage sardines, and Champagne.
KB: Champagne + French fries (specifically Krug Grande Cuvée 169ème édition for acidity).
“We're in the hospitality business, not the ego business.”
How have your cocktail tastes changed over the years?
Shawn Lickliter: They've gotten simpler. I don't like fussy cocktails. I like simple flavors and letting the spirits shine.
Blake Antrobus: I've learned to enjoy low ABV cocktails at any time of day.
Kyle Bailey: As far as mixing cocktails, always striving to hone in and sharpen ingredients to their brightest, truest selves.
What’s the biggest misconception about mixology, or cocktails in general, that you’d like to dispel?
SL: That it's pretentious. There's sometimes a misconception that you might be looked down upon for ordering a vodka cocktail, for example. People should be able to order what they like. We're in the hospitality business, not the ego business.
BA: That just because your cocktail is $20 doesn't mean it's good.
KB: The idea of "too sweet" or "we don't want anything too sweet." Of course! That's what the word "too" means. Trust us as you trust our chefs—we're united in the same goal of elevation and balance of flavor.
Favorite (and/or least favorite) cocktail-related film, book, magazine, etc?
SL: Favorite: Casablanca, for the French 75. I have to pick a least favorite, I'll go with Coyote Ugly. Just no.
BA: Favorite: The Big Lebowski.
KB: Favorite: El Mariachi (1992). Weird, wild little film that includes a bar that has absolutely amazing bottles on the back bar (early 1970s I.W. Harper, etc.).
Presented in partnership with Rémy Martin
Hero image: Manzke bartender Blake Antrobus, bar director Shawn Lickliter, and bartender Kyle Bailey