The Brooklyn cocktail is a perfect drink for the chilly weather. It is a variation of the more popular Manhattan cocktail that sets itself apart with the dry vermouth, which gives it a lighter tone. It also features a more subtle finish thanks to the bitters used in the recipe.
It also features a boozy flavor that makes it perfect for sipping. And you can have it alongside your dinner or at cocktail hour. The Brooklyn cocktail is an easy-to-make drink when you have the right ingredients. But first, before we get to the recipe, let’s learn a little about this cocktail.
What Is the Brooklyn Cocktail?
Brooklyn cocktail is a popular drink named after New York’s Borough of Brooklyn. It was a popular pre-prohibition cocktail that attributed its popularity to Jack Grahusko.
Grahusco’s version is considered the authentic recipe for this cocktail elusive. It is a blend of dry vermouth, rye whiskey, Amer Picon, and Maraschino Liqueur.
The cocktail’s popularity declined significantly following the prohibition and the unavailability of Amer Picon in the US. But even if you were to visit France and buy the Amer Picon, it’s still a reduced-strength version compared to the original sold before the 1970s.
Since Amer Picon is not sold in America, other Brooklyn cocktail variations use substitute ingredients. Many of these variations and riffs are named after Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.
The Red Hook is the most iconic riff of the Brooklyn cocktail. It was first made by Enzo Errico using a slightly bitter Italian vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Punt e Mes. This riff was responsible for the return and popularity of the Brooklyn cocktail in the early 2000s.
Another riff of the cocktail is the Greenpoint, created by Michael McIlroy. This variation uses sweet vermouth instead of the dry version. It also uses the yellow Chartreuse instead of the Maraschino and Amer Picon. It also incorporates Angostura bitters and orange bitters.
Bensonhurst is another variation of the Brooklyn cocktail created in 2006 by Chad Solomon. It’s made from 100-proof rye whiskey, extra dry vermouth, Cynar (as an Amer Picon substitute), and maraschino liqueur.
The Bushwick cocktail is another riff on the popular Brooklyn cocktail first made by Phil Ward. Its ingredients include Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth (usually Carpano Antica), Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and Amaro Lucano (as a substitute for Amer Picon).
You can also make the Slope Cocktail from straight rye whiskey, full-bodied vermouths such as Punt e Mes, an Apricot liqueur, and Angostura bitters.
Another riff of the Brooklyn cocktail uses falernum drinks to introduce a tropical flavor to the cocktail. If you’ve had any velvet falernum cocktails, you know they stand out for their rich, balanced, and delicately spiced flavor.
Rye whiskey is one of the ingredients in this classic cocktail. You want to choose a bonded rye with at least 90% proof. Rittenhouse is the most popular variety for this cocktail, but you can also use Wild Turkey Rye.
Another ingredient is Italian dry vermouth. Grahusko used the Ballor, a classic Italian dry vermouth, for the original cocktail. In a later recipe published by Jacques Straub, French dry vermouth replaced Italian dry vermouth.
The dry French vermouth produces a thinner and inferior cocktail, but it is the most common version of the Brooklyn cocktail.
You’ll also need Amer Picon, one of the most elusive ingredients for the American market. Amer Picon in the cocktail serves as a bridging ingredient that combines the flavors of whiskey rye and dry vermouth.
The two are among the difficult ingredients to pair due to their varying notes. The Amer Picon is an orange bitter with a bitter-sweet flavor which, in the right quantities, brings together the woody notes of American Rye and the grassy notes of dry vermouth.
Since Amer Picon is hard to find in America, you have to substitute it to introduce the bitter element that distinguishes this cocktail from the Manhattan.
Maraschino liqueur is another must-have ingredient for this cocktail. It is an Italian liqueur made from marasca sour cherries. It has a floral and funky flavor, making it a perfect addition to classic cocktails, including the Brooklyn. Adding it to the Brooklyn cocktail balances the bitter flavors of Amar Picon.
Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe
- 1½ shot American rye whiskey (50% alcohol)
- 1½ shot Dry vermouth
- ⅙ shot Amer Picon
- ⅙ shot Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo is the most popular maraschino liqueur used in this cocktail)
- ⅓ shot Chilled water
- Add all your ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice.
- Stir everything until well-chilled and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with lemon twist or maraschino cherry.
Tips and Tricks for Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe
- You can replace Amer Picon and Maraschino with Amaro Ciociaro. Amaro Ciociaro is a bitter-sweet aperitif with citrus and sweet notes. Its flavor profile is so close to the original Amer Picon thus, gives the Brooklyn cocktail a flavor so close to the original version. Other substitutes include Bigallet China (China Amer), Golden Moon Amer Picon (Colorado), Ramazzotti Amaro, and Amaro Montenegro with orange bitters.
- Unlike other cocktails, it’s best to stir instead of shake the ingredients when making this cocktail. Shaking produces a cloudy drink.
- You can make large batches of the cocktail and store them for later. Take your cocktail to the next level by aging it in an oak barrel. Start by making a large batch of the cocktail, pour it into an oak barrel using a funnel, and let it sit for a week to a month.
- You can add a tropical variation to the cocktail using rum instead of rye. Pineapple-infused rum is a good place to start. Add some orange juice to pack a dream punch into the cocktail.
Nutrition Information of Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe
This recipe produces one serving that contains:
Saturated fat 0g
Dietary fiber 3g
Total sugars 6g
The Brooklyn Cocktail is not one of the random cocktails you can find at any bar, especially if you want to have one that tastes as close to the original as possible. But it is a perfect drink if you are looking for a Manhattan cocktail variation with a twist. It’s a classic all-liquor cocktail made from rye whiskey and orange bitters. You can play around with the flavors, including homemade varieties of some ingredients to get a Brooklyn cocktail.
It was fabulous
I made this twice so far and we loved it.
We loved the flavors.