You don’t have to be from Brooklyn to enjoy a good Brooklyn cocktail. Even folks down South will appreciate this twist on the classic Manhattan!
Appearing in the early 20th century, the Brooklyn cocktail has a bold, complex flavor. It combines rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon.
It balances sweet, bitter, and fruity nicely and even has a bit of spice from the rye. Give it a try!
What Is a Brooklyn Cocktail?
The Brooklyn puts a drier spin on the Manhattan. Named after the New York borough, it first appeared in print in 1908.
Credit for creating it goes to Manhattan bartender Jack Grohusko. Why he called it the Brooklyn is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was because “Manhattan” was taken.
The drink keeps the Manhattan’s rye whiskey. However, it swaps sweet vermouth for dry. It also incorporates maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon or bitters.
Let’s look at those ingredients in a bit more detail:
- Ice – You’ll need plenty of large cubes to cool the drink while mixing it. However, you won’t add any to the serving glass. This drink is best served straight up.
- Rye whiskey – Use a high-quality brand whose flavor you enjoy. I prefer Redemption Straight Rye Whiskey or Nashville Barrel Small Batch Rye. You can substitute other types of whiskey, but it won’t be a “true” Brooklyn cocktail if you do.
- Dry vermouth – This is one drink where the vermouth’s flavor really shines through. So, as with the whiskey, be sure you get a brand you enjoy. Carpano is always a good option.
- Maraschino liqueur – I typically use Luxardo, but any brand will suffice.
- Amer Picon – Amer Picon is a French aperitif with a bitter orange flavor. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find in the States. Substitute a good amaro or Angostura bitters if you can’t track it down.
- Luxardo cherry – Garnishes are always optional, of course. But who doesn’t love a drink with a cherry on top?!
How to Make a Brooklyn Cocktail
Like most cocktails, the Brooklyn is easy to make. Follow these three simple steps:
1. Mix. Add ice and all the liquid ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir until the drink is chilled.
2. Strain. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.
3. Garnish. Garnish it with a maraschino cherry, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Cocktail
Before you jump to the recipe card, check out my three best tips for making this cocktail:
- Stir, don’t shake. Stir the cocktail vigorously for 20 to 25 seconds to ensure it’s well-chilled. Don’t shake it, and don’t stir too long. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your drink.
- Use plenty of ice for mixing. Add several large cubes to your mixing glass. The more ice you have, the colder your drink will be. Plus, using large cubes avoids dilution.
- Don’t stress over the Amer Picon. As mentioned, Amer Picon can be hard to find. If you can’t locate it, don’t panic. Angostura bitters will work just fine.
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