Ordering a Brooklyn can be a confusing affair. While the Manhattan is one of the best known cocktails the world over, and even the more obscure Bronx comes with a relatively stable recipe, it’s a bit less clear how to make the official cocktail of King’s County. A number of cocktails laid claim to the name beginning in the 1880s, but none rose above the fray to come to be known as the definitive Brooklyn. Even when Jacob Grohusko’s recipe from 1908 proved to have staying power, the interruption of Prohibition and the disappearance of a key ingredient, Amer Picon, from the U.S. market halted its rise to cocktail fame. But the cocktail as Grohusko mixed it is still the best version of the Brooklyn we know of, with bittersweet, orangey amer highlighting the fruity notes of rye and melding with sweet maraschino. Pick up a bottle of Amer Picon while travelling in Europe, or substitute Amaro CioCiaro, Ramazotti or Bittermens Amère Nouvelle.
Mix it Up
While none of them earned widespread recognition, the other historical attempts at a Brooklyn are interesting cocktails in their own right. Try a version from 1883 that was simply a Jamaican rum Manhattan, or a recipe from 1910 that combines 2.5 oz hard cider with 1 oz absinthe and tops the mixture with ginger ale.
One of the few Scotch-based libations you can turn to for refreshment on a hot summer’s day, the Blood and Sand was named after a 1922 bullfighting film starring Rudolph Valentino and Rita Hayworth, and first appeared in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. While the odd combination of smoky scotch, a tangy smack of orange...