Monday, December 08, 2008

The 5 Boroughs of Cocktails

I have often wanted to to a post explaining the differences between a Manhattan and a Brooklyn (there is also a Bronx too!). My Grandfather's favorite was the Manhattan, being a Hells Kitchen kid, and he preferred his bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters on the sweet side. I would always ask for mine made with half dry and half sweet vermouth. And with a twist, no cherries please. After all, "cherries are for virgins, pies and slot machines..you see any of those around here??!"

I had my first Brooklyn, in Brooklyn, natch, at the Brooklyn Social Club on Smith st in Carrol Gardens. This little bar was an actual social club for Italians in the 1950's and 60's and now harbors legions of hipsters and stroller-less parents of the New Brooklyn. This version calls for my preferred Rye, sweet vermouth, Amer Picon, and maraschino. The cute bartender finished off the drink with a flamed orange peel. With that bit of drama I was hooked, if he didn't already have me at Rye.

The Bronx is questionable since it was apparently invented by a teetotaling bartender in the early 1900's at the Waldorf Astoria hotel (where my Great Grandparents met and worked!). But the recipe is pretty good; Gin, sweet and dry vermouth, orange juice. I would probably add orange bitters instead of the juice for I believe all these classic NYC cocktails should have some sort of bitter component.

Well it seems that there needs to be a Queens and a Staten Island. So I'll get crackin' on that, but to paraphrase an olde timey bartender who once said this about Brooklyn, "If you live in Staten Island, have a beer!"

1 comment:

Vidiot said...

There's an Astoria in the Savoy Bar Book, but it's essentially a dry Martini by another name. There's also a Red Hook, a Cobble Hill, and a Carroll Gardens, but they're all relatively recent -- and good! -- inventions. And there's a recipe for a New Yorker cocktail, but I wasn't too fond of it.