The last time I attempted to drink Manhattan Special’s flagship product, for whatever reason, half the bottle fizzed up and all over me, resulting in an unsatisfactory and incomplete review.
The time has come to rectify that.
Well, the bottle didn’t spew all over me. Good start. It has been sitting in my fridge for a few weeks, so it might be on the flat side, but at the very least I’ll be enjoying a full bottle.
Smells like coffee with an acrid, acidic tinge. Not unlike espresso–which, my general fondness for coffee aside, is too bitter for my taste.
There’s some of the harshness of espresso in the flavor, but also fizziness and a syrupy edge. Drinking further, the fizziness is definitely still pronounced, which I like. There’s also a chocolate tone which I find quite agreeable.
The fizzy side of the drink almost undermines the coffee and chocolate qualities, as it tends to cut through those flavors and deliver a distinct yet slightly distracting sensation–like a stream of seltzer is flowing within the cold coffee.
The drink almost tastes like a soda fountain beverage, slightly mis-mixed. It’s not bad, mind you, but the soda and coffee don’t entirely mesh, and I cannot call the drink an unqualified success.
But it’s certainly drinkable and even modestly pleasurable, especially for a coffee devotee like myself. And given its longevity–120 years young–it should probably be considered a must for any soda connoisseur.