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FrogPrincesse

The Brooklyn Cocktail

19 posts in this topic

I decided to start this new thread after some discussions with mkayahara (thanks Matt for the inspiration!). The question of ratios for the Brooklyn came up. It became apparent that there were very different recipes floating around.

I first encountered this cocktail in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (I have the 2009 edition). It is essentially a dry Manhattan with a touch of Picon and maraschino liqueur.

 

Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails

2 oz rye

3/4 oz dry vermouth

2 tsp [~1/3 oz] Amer Picon

2 tsp [~1/3 oz] maraschino

 

The version in the Savoy Cocktail Book has a 2:1 rye to vermouth ratio similar to Ted Haigh, but less Picon & maraschino.

Savoy Cocktail Book (1930)

2/3 Canadian Club whisky

1/3 dry vermouth

1 dash Amer Picon

1 dash maraschino

Doing more digging there is Joseph Straub version (the original) with a 1:1 rye to dry vermouth ratio.

 

Joseph Straub (1914)

3/4 oz rye

3/4 oz dry vermouth

1 dash Amer Picon

1 dash maraschino

The modern versions seem to tweak the balance quite a bit. For example the version in diffords.com reduces the amount of dry vermouth (3:1).

Diffords

1 1/2 oz rye

1/2 oz dry vermouth

1/4 oz Amer Picon

1/4 oz maraschino

To make things more confusing, Martin Doudoroff and Ted Haigh's cocktaildb.com has two versions. One under Brooklyn which is identical to the Savoy version, and another one under Brooklyn Cocktail which is identical to Diffords.

Then, lastly, there is the version I've been using recently. That one drastically reduces the dry vermouth (8:1 rye to vermouth ratio) and clearly puts the emphasis on the Picon.

 

Bartender's Choice App

2 oz rye

1/4 oz dry vermouth

1/2 oz Amer Picon

1/4 oz maraschino

One variable is the type of Picon that you use. Picon is a bitter apperitif made from orange zest, cinchona (quinine) and gentian. There is Picon Bière, Amer Picon (harder to track down), vintage Amer Picon (even harder to find), Amer Boudreau, Amère Nouvelle, Torani Amer, Amaro CioCiaro, etc. For example Ted Haigh says to substitute Torani Amer for the Picon. For my experiments I am using Picon Bière because that is what I have access to. But I am counting on Matt to report on his work with Amère Nouvelle and Amer Boudreau...

to be continued...


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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Well, at least I'm inspiring something in somebody. :wink:

I had always thought the distinction was between it being a dry Manhattan with hints of Picon and maraschino (those Savoy-era bartenders really made a bottle go a long way), or a dry Manhattan with the bitter and liqueur playing a greater role. Then I saw the Bartender's Choice version, and the small amount of dry vermouth threw me. It'll be interesting to try out a couple of versions. I'll report back.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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My batch of Amer Boudreau is very bitter, but I love it; I've been using ratios closest to the "Bartender's App" version listed above, though sometimes with even less maraschino (because of how overpowering that ingredient can be).

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So I tried two versions last night. The first was 2 oz. Rittenhouse BIB (thanks, Kerry!), 1/2 oz. Dolin dry vermouth, 1/4 oz. Luxardo maraschino and 1/4 oz. homemade amer Boudreau. As is usually the case, I found the maraschino overpowered things a bit, though the vermouth kept everything from being too syrupy, and the orange notes of the amer occasionally wafted through. A darn tasty drink, but I could have used a stronger presence from the amer.

For the second version, I used 2 oz. rye, 1/2 oz. amer Boudreau, 1/4 oz. each of the vermouth and maraschino. Definitely a stronger presence from the amer this time, taking the emphasis off the maraschino, but the small amount of vermouth left things a bit too sweet for my tastes. It's probably no sweeter than your average Manhattan, but I guess I want something other than a Manhattan-alike out of this drink.

So I suspect with these ingredients, my desired balance would lie somewhere around 2 oz. rye, 1/2-3/4 oz. dry vermouth, 1/2 oz. amer, 1/4 oz. maraschino. (Or, say, 1.5 oz rye, 1/2 oz vermouth, 3/8 oz amer, 1 tsp. maraschino, but measuring those eighths of an ounce is such a pain!)


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Here are my Brooklyn experiments from last Thursday. I used Bulleit for the rye and Noilly Prat for the dry vermouth.

 

8746646104_8f26a161dd_z.jpg

 

On the left, the dry vermouth-heavy version: 2 oz rye, 0.25 Picon, 0.5 oz dry vermouth, 0.25 oz maraschino liqueur. This is similar to Difford's but with the rye increased from 1.5 to 2 oz.

 

On the right, the Picon-heavy version: 2 oz rye, 0.5 Picon, 0.25 oz dry vermouth, 0.25 oz maraschino liqueur. This is the version from the Bartender's Choice app that I've been using lately.

 

The first version is drier and feels a little bit lighter. More crisp. The second version is more rounded and has a fuller flavor. They both work but the second one is my first pick because it accentuates the flavor of the Picon and makes a more distinctive cocktail.


Edited by FrogPrincesse formatting (log)

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Love this drink!

One other important source has been omitted from this discusison: Jack's Manual from 1910, which is, as best as I can tell, the very earliest published recipe for this drink. The rye and vermouth are 1:1 but the vermouth itself is specified as "Italian" not dry! When I make the drink, I split the difference and use a blanc (Dolin) which results in a richer mouthfeel.

Finally: try this drink with Bigallet China-China if it's being imported into your market (I live in SF). I now like it much better than the Boudreau replica.

Michael

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One other important source has been omitted from this discusison: Jack's Manual from 1910, which is, as best as I can tell, the very earliest published recipe for this drink. The rye and vermouth are 1:1 but the vermouth itself is specified as "Italian" not dry! When I make the drink, I split the difference and use a blanc (Dolin) which results in a richer mouthfeel.

Not to bad mouth Jack, but he also has Italian Vermouth in his "Martini" (there's a separate 'dry' version that lists French), his Robert Burns calls for French Vermouth and Irish Whiskey(!), and his Bronx has no Orange Juice, only a twist. So, I'm not sure we want to be drawing conclusions... Not that the drink isn't delicious with Sweet or Blanc Vermouth. With Sweet, it's very nearly a Creole, which is one of my favorite drinks of all time.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Well...since there's no earlier published version of the Brooklyn than Jack's, maybe it was Straub made a mistake when he cribbed it. Just sayin' ;->

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Well...since there's no earlier published version of the Brooklyn than Jack's, maybe it was Straub made a mistake when he cribbed it. Just sayin' ;->

In an infinite universe all things are possible. Perhaps the drink named after the national poet of Scotland was originally made with Irish Whiskey, but I have my doubts about Mr. Grohusko's attention to detail.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Try this drink with Bigallet China-China

I just found this in Boston and rather like it too.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Interesting piece about the history of the Brooklyn Cocktail in Edible Brooklyn, by David Wondrich.

 

[...] the initial attempt, which saw print in Jack’s Manual, a 1908 cocktail guide, was a thoroughly professional effort, combining rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and the delightful French aperitif Amer Picon to excellent effect.

[....]

Unfortunately, Brooklyn can’t take much credit for it: Jacob Grohusko, the Jack in question, lived in Hoboken and worked in lower Manhattan.

[...]

It was included in both the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and (Brooklynite) Patrick Gavin Duffy’s 1933 Official Mixer’s Manual

 

 

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Previously I had only tried the Brooklyn with Torani Amer, which makes for a rather uninspiring drink. Last night I tried it with Bittermans Amer Nouvelle Admittedly this bottling is not so much an attempt to recreated the old Picon,  but rather reinterpret it. I used the Diffords recipe as so

 

2 Oz Rye (Rittenhouse)

0.5 Oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)

0.25 Oz Maraschino (Luxardo)

0.25 Oz Amer Picon (Amer Nouvelle)

 

 I must say it was a very enjoyable drink. The Bittermans has a lovely clean flavor that worked great here. Even if it is not historically accurate, I can see myself going back through other old Picon drinks to give this bottle a try.


Edited by Czequershuus (log)

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I've been on a Brooklyn kick too, using Bigallet China-China, 2 : 3/4 : 3/8 : 3/8. A touch sweet, perhaps. I'd like to try this with Leopold Maraschino, as 3/8 of Luxardo is a touch heavy-handed. I'll have to try it with Amere Nouvelle.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Interesting piece about the history of the Brooklyn Cocktail in Edible Brooklyn, by David Wondrich.

 

And, here are the recipes for the variations discussed in the article. I guess there's nothing wrong with a funky rum Manhattan, but it doesn't say Brooklyn to me...

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True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Experiment complete. Brigallet creates a bolder version than Amere Nouvelle, even after increasing the Nouvelle to 1 oz. Both my wife and I preferred he Brigallet. Also reducing the Luxardo Maraschino to 1/4 oz, keeping the Brigallet oz, was better balanced.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Here is a fabulous Brooklyn with Bartender's Choice ratios and Bigallet China-China as the Picon component. I think I like it better than the Picon Biere I had been using. Of course it is three times more expensive (but at least in available in the US), and more than double the alcohol content...

 

Brooklyn with Michter's rye whiskey, Dolin dry vermouth, Bigallet china-china, Luxardo maraschino liqueur.

 

Brooklyn with Michter's rye whiskey, Dolin dry vermouth, Bigallet china-china, Luxardo maraschino liqueur #cocktail #cocktails #craftcocktails #rye #ryewhiskey #maraschino #whiskey #chinachina #drinks

 

 

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Finally tried Phil Ward's Bushwick and it immediately went to the top of my fave Manhattan/Brooklyn riffs.

  • 2 oz rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Antica
  • 1/4 oz maraschino
  • 1/4 oz Amer Picon (Amer Boudreau

bushwick.png

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The Brooklyn with homemade Amer Broudan is a house favorite. My only modifications to Boudreau's recipe are to use half regular and half bitter orange peel in the tincture and to adjust with alcohol to 40 ABV. It is pretty rough when first made. A year in the bottle makes a world of difference, but I've been impatient. I really need to make a double batch to get ahead of the curve.

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Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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