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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

The Rumbly Tummy: Manhattan (Kansas)

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

We've just wrapped up a week in the studio, creating a few little monsters we will be releasing next Halloween. More on that... much later. But in the meantime, we've had a couple weeks parked still in Nashville, visiting with friends and trying to explain all that we've done over the past few months-- where we've been and all the kind people we've met.

One of the perks of our job is the exploration of each region. We are diligent Farmer's Market attendees everywhere we go, and we meet folks who give us tours of their town, their land, and their local culinary scene. And sometimes, when we are really lucky, we even walk away with a gift from the local scene. And sometimes, that gift is whiskey.

Our last stay in Manhattan, Kansas, had us walking with an abundance from the local market, and also from our kind hosts, Dani & Bob's, home and garden. Fresh peppers, homemade cookies, lentil stew, leftover wine from the house concert, and a bottle of untapped Reserve Bourbon Whiskey from Kansas City woman-owned distillery, Union Horse Distilling Co.

This, dear friends, is a jackpot.

So, gathering with our Nashville friends, singing the praises of the Midwest, we concocted a drink that mixed this bounty with another Midwestern novelty we discovered this year: aronia berries.

These little berries are a close relative to chokecherries, and have an odd, tart bite in the front, and a dry burst at the end, causing you to tilt your head and try another to be sure you got that sensation right. A woman selling them at the Brookings Farmer's Market said they were becoming all the rage in California as the new superfood power berry. "We just grow them like weeds, though." We bought a pint and stuck them in an apple crisp while we parked at the Bandlands later that week, and were hooked.

We came across them again in Rapid City, a farmer selling a large frozen bag. When we inquired, he brought them to us. We paid, thanked him, then began walking away.

"Wait!" he called after us. "What in the heck do you use those for?"

"I'm not sure," Mallory said. "Last week, we put them in an apple crisp."

"Huh," he said, "I've been growing them for years, never picked 'em. And all the sudden everybody wants 'em, and I don't even know what for."

Challenge accepted.

One week later, Scott shook up the scene with Midwest inspired drink.

So, for this November 2019 edition of The Rumbly Tummy, we are mixing you up a fine Manhattan (Kansas).

Manhattan (Kansas)

Makes 2 drinks


8 aronia berries

4 shots Union Horse whiskey (or whatever whiskey you prefer)

2 shots merlot

1/2 - 1 TBSP agave

squeeze of lemon

4 cubes of ice



1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle 6 aronia berries.

2. Add whiskey, merlot, and lemon. Stir in agave.

3. Add ice. Shake vigorously until ice is broken.

4. Add one aronia berry to each glass. Line each glass with a drop or two of bitters. We used coffee, but orange or a spicy bitter would work, too.

5. Split shaker contents into each glass. Cheers to your favorite Midwesterner!


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