Much like the city, the Brooklyn cocktail has long been overshadowed by its more popular neighbor, the Manhattan, but has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. Though invented around the turn of last century (the recipe for the Brooklyn was reportedly first seen in print in 1908, in J.A. Grohusko’s Jack’s Manual) there have been countless iterations of this cocktail, many specific to certain neighborhoods in the New York borough—the Bay Ridge, the Red Hook, the Greenpoint, the Cobble Hill. The original, however, still stands on its own as a classic cocktail worth knowing.
Similar to the Manhattan in style and balance, the Brooklyn swaps sweet vermouth for dry, with a touch of maraschino liqueur to make up for the loss in sugar. Also, while a couple dashes of Angostura bitters are often used as a balancing element for the sweeter ingredients, many purists insist that Amer Picon is the essential bittering agent that “makes” the drink, and without it, a Brooklyn just ain’t a Brooklyn.
(Note: If a proper bottle of Amer Picon proves hard to find—availability in the U.S. is severely limited—there is a reasonably suitable DIY version you can make yourself here. Also, I recommend this recipe from Jamie Boudreau, proprietor of Canon in Seattle, as a less-sweet alternative.)
- 2 ounces rye whiskey or Canadian whisky
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur (reduce or add to taste)
- ¼ ounce Amer Picon
- Maraschino cherry, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill completely with ice. Stir for 45–60 seconds. Serve up, straining into a chilled port glass, coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.