The Brooklyn

I’m a  sucker for rye based, boozy drinks – I’m a true Manhattan junkie. It’s the kind of drink I am, more or less, always in the mood for. Here’s the million-dollar tip: If you’re a fan of the Manhattan, like myself, be adventurous, try the Brooklyn. When the bartended mixed me a Brooklyn, for a change, I immediately felt the connection. Now I’ve become a Brooklyn cult follower.

The Brooklyn is much more than a dry, big and bold Manhattan, with dry vermouth replacing the sweet. It’s a damn fine cocktail, more interesting and less sweet than the Manhattan, which, to me, makes it better. It’s a beautiful looking drink with deep golden hues.

There’s no better way to enjoy the spice of the rye, the bitter notes of the amaro and that unmistakable cherry funk.

Rye whiskey simply shines in this harmonious Manhattan-like cocktail! Let’s face it: the Brooklyn is way cooler than the Manhattan…

The roots

The Brooklyn is one of five cocktails named for the boroughs of New York City, along with the Bronx, the Manhattan, the Queens and the Staten Island Ferry. It might be less known than its neighbor, the Manhattan, but it’s equally delicious.

It resembles a Manhattan, but with the addition of Maraschino liqueur and bitters. It largely fell into obscurity after the end of Prohibition, but experienced a resurgence in the 1990s.

The Brooklyn, like the Manhattan, is a rye-based drink. However, that’s where the similarities end. Though the cocktails are seemingly similar, at a closer look they are very unique. The Brooklyn calls for dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur.

The Brooklyn is a cocktail that lets the rye whiskey do all the ground work. Whereas in a Manhattan the sweet vermouth is fairly prominent, here the dry vermouth takes a more subtle role behind the dominant rye flavors.

The maraschino liqueur (Luxardo is the best) adds a rich sweetness, which compensates for the fact that dry rather than sweet vermouth is used.

First found in print in 1908 in J.A. Grohusko’s Jack’s Manual, a book aimed at innkeepers, bartenders and restaurateurs, the original recipe called for equal parts rye whiskey and Italian (sweet) vermouth (changed to dry vermouth in later iterations), plus small amounts of maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon—a French bitter orange liqueur.

In the decades that followed, the Brooklyn cocktail didn’t get much play, while the Manhattan became a mid-century icon. This is likely in part because of its simplicity—and, let’s face it, its booziness: It’s basically a lightly altered glass of rye, while the Brooklyn calls for two esoteric liqueurs.

The makin’s
2 parts rye whiskey
1 part dry vermouth
A dash of maraschino liqueur
A dash of Amer Picon (A bitter, orange-flavored cordial)
Lemon twist for garnish

 The drill
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon twist


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