Cocktail of the Week – Brooklyn

Brooklyn

Sometime in the late 1800s the Manhattan had a cocktail named after it. A pretty good cocktail. At the turn of the century the Bronx also had a cocktail named after it. And at that point the borough of Brooklyn (it had been its own city until 1898) had to get involved. It too needed to have a cocktail named after itself. Eventually all five boroughs would have one (I’ll be doing all of them here…) The truth is that there have been many Brooklyn cocktails. All trying to live up, or really surpass, the Manhattan in taste and class. None have really come close, many have been very bad. The most popular, or the one that has lasted the longest, none of them have been particularly popular is the cocktail created by Jacob Grohusko. But much to the chagrin of Brooklynites is the fact that Jacob lived in Hoboken and worked in lower Manhattan… Despite all that it is the cocktail bearing the name of the beloved borough that has had the most staying power. Also, if you bother to look up all the alternatives it is the one that by far tastes the best.

Brooklyn
The ingredients

Brooklyn

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur
  • dash of Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients with ice. Stir. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

Brooklyn

Don’t try ordering a Brooklyn at your local bar, you’ll just end up having to describe the drink to them and then the bartender, well-intended or not, will invariably mess it up and you’ll end up with sub-par cocktail. Sadly, the fact is that the only cocktail a bartender will know out of the five New York City boroughs is the Manhattan. If you take the time, and money to make this yourself at home you’ll be pleasantly surprised! The Brooklyn is a delicious, warming and sweet cocktail that just can’t seem to catch on or match the polish of Manhattan…

But, seeing as Manhattan is the location of Wall St., my mom is from Brooklyn, and I come from a long line of unpolished blue collar workers I’ll take the Brooklyn every time over a Manhattan.

Cocktail of the Week – Manhattan

Manhattan

I’m a little nervous posting this one. The Manhattan IS the classic American cocktail and has been for more than 100 years and I doubt I can do the cocktail justice. The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named after New York City’s five boroughs (all of which I’ll be featuring here in the upcoming weeks) and was allegedly created in 1870 for a party thrown by Lady Randolph Churchill to honor presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The cocktail has fared better than Mr. Tilden, who won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college (Presidential elections are weird. Gore VS. Bush wasn’t the first time the Democrats paid the price for being “nice guys.”) From such humble beginnings though are legends born. The Manhattan is one of the drinks I use to judge every bar I visit. If it can make a good Manhattan than it might be worth frequenting…

Manhattan
The ingredients

Manhattan

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 5 drops Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

Manhattan

My pictures aren’t doing this cocktail much justice. I doubt any words I put down here will either. I suppose all I can say is that this is a drink you need to add to your repertoire. It’s imminently drinkable and as we move into fall you’ll find that it has a wonderful warming effect! The actual drink is a delicate blend of sharp, sweet, and bitter that, when you do it right, is just lovely. Wrap yourself in a blanket, park yourself in front of the fire, and enjoy  a nice cool Manhattan.

Cocktail of the Week – Horse’s Neck

Horse's Neck

I know I talked about Autumn and cooling weather last Monday but as soon as I posted last week the temperatures here in central Northern California spiked with the mercury rising back into the 100s… One step forward and two steps back. This week we go with a the refreshing and cool Horse’s Neck.

Since I went ahead and picked up a bottle of brandy I wanted to make sure I included it in some cocktails. The first of which is the Horse’s Neck, a simple cooler that was popular before Prohibition. Originally made with brandy and ginger ale or soda when it was revitalized bourbon replaced the brandy, ginger beer was substituted for ginger ale and angostura bitters were added.

Horse's Neck
The ingredients

Horse’s Neck

  • 2 oz. brandy or bourbon
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer/ale
  • lemon for garnish

Peel a lemon in one long spiral, twist the peel around finger or spoon to create a coil. Place the peel in a Collins glass with one end hanging over the lip. Fill glass with ice. Add brandy and bitters. Top glass with ginger beer/ale.

Horse's Neck

The sweetness of the brandy blends nicely with sharp, pepperiness of the ginger beer and the bitters. It’s also really easy to make! By far the hardest part was peeling the lemon for the garnish, a step you may skip if you want. Though the long coil going up the Collins glass makes for a great presentation it isn’t actually necessary for the cocktail.

Best of all when its over 90 degrees outside at 8:00 PM this is a cold, delicious drink.Tonight I’m enjoying mine at my kitchen table instead of out on the patio…

Cocktail of the Week: Cuba Libré

Cuba Libré

With the relationship between the United States of America and Cuba finally beginning to thaw after 55 years I thought it might be appropriate to visit one of the most popular cocktails of all time, though it’s rarely called by it’s actual name these days, the Cuba Libré or rum and coke.

The Cuba Libré’s history, like most cocktail histories, is a bit murky but most agree that the drink was birthed in Havana sometime after the Spanish-American War (which ended in 1898.) The original cocktail calls for fresh lime juice and angostura bitters; some recipes even call for adding gin. The rum and coke has become the most pedestrian of cocktails made with little gusto and drank with even less. I encourage you to try the original some time.

Cuba Libré
The ingredients

Cuba Libré

  • 1/2 to 1 lime
  • 2 ounces rum, preferably dark
  • 1/2 ounce gin (optional)
  • Coca-Cola, chilled
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Squeeze the lime into a Collins glass, then drop the spent lime half into the glass. Add two to four ice cubes. Pour in rum (and gin if using.) Fill glass with Coke, add bitters, and give two stirs to incorporate everything.

Cuba Libré

I’ve always appreciated a good rum and coke. The actual cocktail is even better, the bitters help tame the sweetness of the Coke and rum goes good with everything. I sat on the porch listening to the Beach Boys and drinking this cocktail wishing that the weekend wasn’t over and I wasn’t landlocked…