The Brooklyn cocktail is a classic whiskey drink made with maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, and Amer Picon. It’s officially been added to Shawn Williams’s staple cocktails in the Swagger house. I’m obsessed with maraschino liqueur so I’ve always been intrigued with cocktails that incorporate it.
It’s not an overly popular drink, in fact, I’ve only ever seen the Brooklyn on a few cocktail menus at really dedicated craft cocktail bars.
The Brooklyn is of course named after New York City’s Brooklyn borough. Similar to the Manhattan, it’s made with whiskey, vermouth, and bitters. The 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.
Brooklyn Versus Manhattan Cocktail
How is the Brooklyn different than the Manhattan? The biggest difference is the addition of maraschino liqueur, a semi-sweet cherry-flavored liqueur that adds a unique twist to the cocktail. The Manhattan is made with sweet vermouth, whereas the Brooklyn is made with dry vermouth. Call it a lighter colored Manhattan with a cherry twist.
Amer Picon, Ramazzotti, and Other Amaro
The original Brooklyn cocktail was made with Amer Picon, a French Aperitif with bitter orange characteristics. It’s very difficult to find in the US so many bartenders substitute with 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 can’t find any of this stuff, (although I think you’ll be able to find Amaro), you can use a few dashes each of Angostura and orange bitters. This will give you the bitter orange notes the cocktail calls for.
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Manhattan lovers listen up. The Brooklyn cocktail is a classic whiskey drink made with maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, and bitters.
- 2 ounces bournon or rye whiskey
- 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
- Combine all ingredients (except the cherry) in a mixing glass filled halway with ice.
- Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Amer Picon is very difficult to find in the US so many bartenders substitute with an Italian Amaro such as Ramazzotti or Montenegro.
Keywords: brooklyn cocktail recipe, brooklyn drink