Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

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The Brooklyn cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail made with maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, and Amer Picon. The Brooklyn drinks similarly to the Manhattan cocktail, yet lighter in both appearance and taste thanks to a healthy dose of dry vermouth. A must-try drink if you’re a whiskey lover!

A Brooklyn cocktail in a Nick and Nora glass garnished with a Luxardo cherry.

This Pre-Prohibition cocktail first appeared in 1908 in Jacob A. Grohusko’s, Jack’s Manual. Jacob was a bartender serving in Lower Manhattan bars and restaurants at the time. It’s speculated he created the cocktail for a bar/restaurant owner from Brooklyn.

As its name suggests, the Brooklyn cocktail pays homage to the vibrant borough of New York City. Sharing similarities with its famous sibling, the Manhattan. The Brooklyn sets itself apart by using dry vermouth in place of sweet vermouth, while also introducing maraschino liqueur, a semi-sweet cherry-flavored elixir, and amer, a herbal bittersweet French liqueur.

If you enjoyed this cocktail, consider trying the Sazerac, Improved Whiskey Cocktail, and Old Fashioned cocktail.

Ingredients

  • American rye: while traditionally made with rye, you can also substitute bourbon if you prefer. I like Sazerac, Rittenhouse, George Dickle, and Michters.
  • Dry vermouth: the vermouth in this cocktail is prominent and competes with the rye. Look for Noily Prat or Dolin. Also used in the Scofflaw cocktail and Tuxedo No. 2.
  • Maraschino liqueur: Luxardo is the most popular brand sold in liquor stores.
  • Amer/Amaro: French amer and Italian amaro are a category of herbal liqueurs that are known for their bittersweet flavor profile. Amer Picon (French apéritif), Ramazzotti (Italian amaro), and Montenegro (Italian amaro) are three popular options to use in this cocktail.
  • Luxardo cherry garnish

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Amer Picon, Ramazzotti, and Other Substitutions

The original Brooklyn cocktail was made with Amer Picon, a French apéritif with bitter orange characteristics. It’s very difficult/near impossible to find in the US so many bartenders substitute with Bigallet China China Amer or an Italian Amaro such as Ramazzotti or Montenegro.

Amaro has a very similar profile with deep bitter and citrusy flavors. Both Amer and Amaro translate to bitter in their respective languages. If you struggle to find these specific spirits, you can still create a Brooklyn cocktail by substituting three dashes each of Angostura and orange bitters. This will infuse your drink with similar bitter orange notes.

How to Make a Brooklyn Cocktail

Step 1.

Combine whiskey, vermouth, maraschino, and amaro in a mixing glass filled halfway with ice.

Adding rye whiskey with a jigger to a mixing glass with large ice cubes.

Step 2.

Stir vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass.

Stirring a Brooklyn cocktail in a mixing glass with ice with a bar spoon.

Step 3.

Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

A Brooklyn cocktail in a Nick and Nora glass garnished with a Luxardo cherry.

Expert Tips

  • Freeze your glasses ahead of time to keep your drink chilled longer. A room-temperature glass will significantly warm your cocktail.
  • Stir your cocktail with larger ice cubes if you have them. Use plenty of ice to chill the cocktail rapidly without over-dilution.
What Can I substitute for Amer picon?

The most common substitutes for Amer Picon are Bigallet China China Amer or Italian amaro such as Ramazzotti or Montenegro.

Can I use sweet vermouth instead of dry vermouth?

Sweet and dry vermouth are not interchangeable in cocktails. Dry vermouth is tart, herbaceous, and dry while sweet vermouth is richer with spices and subtle sweetness.

What are luxardo cherries?

Luxardo cherries are made from marasca cherries, which are a small, dark, sour cherry variety. The processing method imparts a rich flavor and deep red color, creating a more natural and sophisticated product.

Similar Cocktails

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this cocktail, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Manhattan lovers listen up. The Brooklyn cocktail is a classic whiskey drink made with maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, and bitters.

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces American rye or Bourbon
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Amer Picon, Ramazzotti, Montenegro (Amaro), or 2 dashes each of Angostura and orange bitters
  • Luxardo cherry garnish

Instructions 

  • Combine whiskey, vermouth, maraschino, and amaro in a mixing glass filled halfway with ice.
  • Stir vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass.
  • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Notes

Amer Picon is nearly impossible to find in the US so many bartenders substitute with an Italian Amaro such as Ramazzotti or Montenegro.
Freeze your glasses ahead of time to keep your drink chilled longer. A room-temperature glass will significantly warm your cocktail.
Stir your cocktail with larger ice cubes if you have them. Use plenty of ice to chill the cocktail rapidly without over-dilution.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 4.1gSodium: 9mgSugar: 3.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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