Last week I highlighted that most iconic and classic of American cocktails, the Manhattan. As an aside in that post I mentioned that all five of New York City’s boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx) have cocktails named after them. Everyone knows about the Manhattan but I don’t think many know about the other four. I tested this by visiting some local bars and asking for a Staten Island and a Queens, only to have blank stares in return. So consider this a public service message and just another example of my commitment to education and life-long learning!
The Bronx cocktail, like most older cocktails has multiple origin stories. One of which insists that the cocktail was created in Philadelphia! Though it seems that either a Joseph S. Sormani or a Johnnie Solan is responsible for the cocktail. The cocktail itself seems to be a riff on the Perfect Martini, adding orange juice to the drink.
1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/3 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Before I drank this cocktail I had some worries because it puts me in a unique position. This, I think, is the one of the few cocktails I know solely through my own work. I’ve never had a Bronx made by anyone else. I only have my own efforts to compare with each other. What if I made the cocktail wrong? I worried I might be doing this cocktail a disservice.
It turns out my worries were for naught. The Bronx is delicious. It tastes a lot like a smooth Perfect Martini laced throughout with the citrusy tang of orange juice, which is especially strong at the finish. I only wish I were drinking it in a classier establishment than my apartment…
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…
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.
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.
Earlier this year I wrote about the precursor to the Negroni, the Americano, a cocktail with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. I had originally intended to follow up that post with the Negroni but got distracted for about six months… So, here we are today with this classic cocktail. Simple, delicious, with a flavor profile anyone would love. Unless, you’re not a fan of herbal or bitter liquors… If that’s the case you should probably ignore any cocktail with Campari in it. I really think the Negroni is delicious though. It’s a delightful digestif.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
In an old fashioned glass half full of ice pour ingredients. Stir. Garnish with orange peel.
I don’t know what I can add to the gallons of ink that has already been spilled in discussion of the Negroni. You don’t get labelled a classic for nothing. Smooth with a touch of bitterness at the end, this drink goes down easy. Though you don’t want to rush this one. Relax. Take your time. Enjoy the drink. Enjoy the moment. This too shall pass and there is nothing to guarantee that the future won’t be as delightful as this moment is.
I was going to do the Negroni for this week’s cocktail but while researching the history of the drink I cam upon the Americano. I thought an Americano was just watered down espresso, which it is, it’s also though the direct predecessor of the Negroni. While the Negroni is a mixture of gin, campari, and sweet vermouth the Americano uses club soda instead of gin.
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
splash of soda water
Pour Campari and vermouth over ice in an old fashioned glass, add a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice.
The Americano is interesting. It’s not sweet, it’s not sour, it has a little bit of savory. The Campari, an herbal liquor, and it’s flavor profile skews heavily to bitter. This is slightly offset by the sweetness of the vermouth but the drink remains bitter. It does take a while to get used to though. Bitter really isn’t a taste that the American palate appreciates or enjoys. I wonder if the gin in a Negroni helps smooth the edges off the Campari at all?
I’ll find out soon! Next week I’ll try the Negroni!