Beautiful Red Bell Cocktail

beautiful red bell cocktail, inspired by Manifesto in Kansas City
The beautiful red bell is a delightful cocktail made at Manifesto, a modern day speakeasy in Kansas City, Missouri. I first experienced it in February, when I was in town to visit my friend Jordan and her husband. She had talked up Manifesto and her favorite drink, the beautiful red bell, over the weekend. Curiosity took over and I convinced the couple that we should cap off our already fantastic weekend with fancy cocktails.

We texted the owner for a reservation, as is custom, and ran through the cold winter air to an unmarked door in a back alley. A dapper bartender walked us downstairs into a candlelit saloon. We settled into a deep-backed, round booth, and examined their menu of bespoke cocktails. Jordan picked her favorite, and her husband and I ordered unusual whiskey based drinks. I watched the bartender as he deftly mixed liquors and shook them up with panache.

Since I detest gin and tonics, I was a little wary when Jordan handed me her gin-based drink to try, but I fell in love at first sip. The muddled bell peppers and basil temper the pine taste of gin. It’s strong but not overpowering, naturally slightly sweet, and refreshingly light. The former bartender in me vowed to recreate the eleven dollar drink at home.

As delightful as the red bell was in that cozy basement in February, I thought it would be more appropriate for summertime, when basil and bell peppers are in season. Finally, the time has come! The beautiful red bell was absolutely worth the wait.

While I’m not entirely sure this is exactly the same formula used at Manifesto, I can tell you it’s awfully close. Scroll down to learn how to make your own!

beautiful red bell cocktail ingredients
muddled red bell pepper, basil and lime juice
Summer cocktail made with basil, red bell pepper, and gin

The Beautiful Red Bell
Inspired by Manifesto in Kansas City, MO


  • 1/3 of a red bell pepper, sliced into two-inch long strips
  • 5 or 6 basil leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin, preferably at room temperature
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons agave nectar (optional, adds sweetness)


  1. In a shaker, combine red pepper, basil and lime juice. Muddle thoroughly, until the red pepper is thoroughly smashed. It shouldn’t have any crunch left to it.
  2. Add gin and lots of ice. Shake like crazy.
  3. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass.
  4. Fall in love with the beautiful red bell.

I had so much fun making and photographing (and drinking!) this beautiful red bell that I’m considering a weekly summer cocktail series for the blog. I’ll feature refreshing drinks composed of basic liquors and little to no liqueurs, flavored with fresh seasonal produce. Happy hour, anyone?


  1. Vince Martini says

    Kate –

    Great blog! I have ventured into Manifesto and it is such a hip little hideaway!!!

    This is a great (and easy) recipe. As a craft mixologist, may I add a few subtle suggestions to this process…just a few ideas to accentuate this cocktail experience.

    1. Always tear the Basil before muddling to help secrete the oil of the basil leaves.

    2. Unless you are using the bell pepper as garnish (always dress your drink), cube it to also help secrete the juices of the bell pepper.

    Kate, I am a Hendricks gin man myself (so wonderfully smooth), but I would bet that Tanqueray Rangpur (which is lime infused) would work really well with this cocktail.

    Anyway, enjoy your cocktail! If you need a great recipe for a cucumber-basil martini, just let me know. It is incredibly refreshing!

    Happy Holidays,
    Vince Martini

    • says

      Thank you for our very helpful tips and thoughtful comments, Vince! I really enjoy muddling fresh herbs in cocktails so your tips are much appreciated. I would love to try out your cucumber basil martini next summer!

  2. says

    Kate-had the same experience at Manifesto this May and was blown away by this drink. Per their menu now, it states they use mint rather than basil. Have you tried making this with mint at all? Also, I think I remember the bell pepper being roasted to some degree…Think I have to try this both ways now!

    • says

      Mint sounds interesting! I’m growing some on my porch now, I’ll have to give it a try. I think I tried it once with jarred roasted red peppers and preferred it with raw, but I’m sure freshly roasted would be a different story.

  3. Jake Flaherty says

    Every time we make this cocktail it is a hit. It tastes like spring. I once accidentally used rum and it was still great.

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