Exploring the Borough II

April 14th, 2010

After initially discovering the Red Hook via LeNell and her wonderful Red Hook single-cask ryes, and later the Greenpoint during a visit to Milk & Honey, I began to delve deeper in to the world of Brooklyn variations. I soon came across this great article by Robert Simonson which covers some of the slightly lesser known recent variants. The following three are my favourites, which round of the previous three I covered resulting in six Brooklyn variations that cover just about every occasion!

Cobble Hill cocktail

Cobble Hill

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Created as a “summertime Manhattan” by Sam Ross, Milk and Honey bartender of Penicillin fame, the Cobble Hill is one of the few Brooklyn variations, along with the Bensonhurst, that uses the original drinks dry vermouth. Here the Amer Picon and Maraschino is replaced by Amaro Montenegro, an amaro distilled in Bologna, Italy from a recipe of over 40 herbs that has a strong vanilla flavour along with notes of coriander and tangerine, and long mildly bitter finish full of citrus.

This combined with the fresh cucumber notes results in an unusual but tasty combination of flavours, with the subtle cucumber working surprisingly well with the rye, adding a delicious hint of brightness to the drink. I hadn’t tried Amaro Montenegro prior to this drink but it’s a pleasantly mild amaro that is put to great use in this drink.

Carroll Gardens cocktail

Carroll Gardens

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Joaquin Simo of Death & Company created the Carroll Gardens in 2008, naming the drink after his home neighborhood. Utilising Nardini Amaro, an unusual liqueur with bitter orange, peppermint and licorice flavours, the result is a an aromatic cocktail with the deep Punt e Mes flavours playing nicely with the amaro to complement the rye perfectly. The splash of maraschino livens things up a little, but this remains a serious, imposing cocktail.

Bushwick cocktail


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This final variation was created by another Death & Co. bartender, Phil Ward. Coming almost full circle the Bushwick brings back Amer Picon and Maraschino liqueur and simply puts sweet vermouth in place of the dry vermouth of the original Brooklyn. Real Amer Picon is fairly rare and currently only available in a weaker reformulation so I usually reach for the Amer Boudreau when making drinks that call for it. Unusually in the Bushwick I actually think the original works better – if you’re using a homemade version you may want to toy with the ratios a little.

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Posted in Amaros, Amer Picon, Maraschino, Recipes, Rye, Vermouth

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4 responses to “Exploring the Borough II”

  1. Butters Butters says:

    Wow, all these variations sounds wonderful! Montenegro will be available in Oregon soon and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the post. Oh yeah and I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Portland.

  2. Conor Conor says:

    Shucks! I have a variation I’ve been calling the bushwick, but I’m guessing that Phil had his first. Sill like mine — 2 oz rye, 3/4 oz nonino amaro, a few dashes angostura, strain into a cocktail glass an float with san pelligrino aranciata.

    I like Phil’s subtle variation. I just prefer a rosso vermouth with rye.

    Also, yes, amaro montenegro is good stuff. It’s very different from your main line amari. It’s got a very syrupy front, which finishes with a lot of fennel and bark.

  3. Robert Simonson Robert Simonson says:

    Good cocktails all. Nice post. Nicer pictures!

  4. three drinks for three bitters « liquor is quicker says:

    [...] variations spawned in recent years by the Red Hook, a number of which Jay at Oh Gosh! has recently documented.  I’ve often noticed that drinks made with St. Germain can end up with a grapefruit-y taste [...]

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