I just posted some social pics on this and I just had to expand a bit…
If you know it, you may or may not love it, but you probably have very strong feelings and fond memories of the drink, especially if you live in the NY metro area.
To me, Manhattan Special really takes me back to all the awesome Italian groceries, deli’s, pizza parlors, and even some bakeries from my youth in Queens, NY. NYC, as you could imagine, has a lot of Italians, and this Brooklyn-based brew is a crowd favorite. It was once ubiquitous, and it seems to be making a but of a comeback. So many spots on Long Island (equally if not more Italian than the Queens of my youth) rock the spot with this nectar of the espresso gods. You simply can’t knock the hustle of any business that’s been plying their wares since 1895!!! It’s crazy to think about, really.
While the brand makes other soda flavors like Cream, Sarsaparilla, and Orange, along with Iced Cappuccino and other flavored coffee drinks, their original (and diet) espresso soda is the end-all-be-all. It’s so unique, still to this day. It’s literally the only sweetened coffee I drink of any kind. it’s just the right amount, with a deep rich coffee taste and light, perfect bubbles. That yellow label. That old-school couple pic. I love tradition and I love companies that don’t flip and flop in the current pop winds. Manhattan Special is an all-out home run and I can’t pass it up whenever or wherever I see it.
Yes, I love the product, but I also really love what the product represents. American drive, NY heritage, an enduring tradition. It reminds me of my childhood and when things were a bit more simple. It was a time of bike riding and pizza eating. Of worrying about homework and the upcoming baseball game. There were no cell phones or internet. No obsession with the iPad or over-scheduled after-school days. It was, well, better. I can’t help but reminisce whenever I have it. Reliving your past every once in a while is a good thing.
Making people happy from Naples and Palermo to NYC for 4 generations…and still kicking. You just can’t be that. I hope this is a company that goes on forever and I can’t wait for my kids to finally be willing to try it.
Maybe I’ll take them to the old neighborhood to do it…