The Brooklyn Cocktail

“I'm from Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, if you say, 'I'm dangerous, you'd better be dangerous.’”
Larry King


Is there any city in the world as great as New York City? It’s the capital of finance, culture, shopping, and the arts. They’ve got great history, Broadway, beautiful parks, and the Yankees (calm down Boston). New York has it all. Not to mention great restaurants and bars. I love the Big Apple. Need another reason to love New York? How about cocktails inspired by the city.

Four out of five of the city’s boroughs (sorry Staten Island) lend their name to great cocktails. Obviously the Manhattan is the most popular. Then we have the Bronx and the Queens. The Brooklyn is our focus today. It’s similar to the Manhattan but with more complexity and depth thanks to the addition of the Amer Picon.

The History

As best I can tell, the earliest version of the Brooklyn Cocktail can be found in Jack’s Manual on the Vintage and Production, Care and Handling of Wines, Liquors, etc. (1910). The original reads like this:

  • 1 dash Amer Picon*
  • dash Maraschino
  • 50% rye whiskey
  • 50% Italian Vermouth

Fill glass with ice. Stir and strain. Serve.

* Amer Picon is a bitter French aperitif that has a strong orange flavor and dates back to 1837. When many of the pre-prohibition cocktails were invented, Amer Picon was sold in the United States. It’s a bit of a mystery why it’s no longer sold in the States but currently, it’s nearly impossible to find outside of Europe. A minor debate exists as to what makes a sufficient substitute. A company in California has tried to duplicate Amer Picon with a product called Torani Amer. From what I understand (having never tried it) it makes an ok cocktail but does not taste like Amer Picon. Many recommend using Ramazzotti, an Italian Amaro. This is what I prefer to use.

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own, Jamie Boudreau has a recipe on his website that’s been tested against the original and approved by many of our country’s cocktail wizards.

The Recipe

What you’ll find if you study the Brooklyn is that people use many different combinations of the four ingredients. These are the measurements I feel work best together.

Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Ramazzotti is currently one of my favorite liqueurs. It’s also used in the Chocolate Cochon and Central Park cocktails, which I’ve previously written about. This blog will be featuring a lot more Amaros in the future. If you haven’t picked one up yet, try Ramazzotti and use it to unlock the mystery that is the Brooklyn cocktail.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email, or hit us up on social media. No question is too basic!