I had a hankering for something bitter and bracing — to match the bitter and bracing weather outside. Looking for something amaro-ish, I was torn between the Red Hook and the Brooklyn.
Each is rye based, which is what I had in mind. But the Red Hook, which happens to be a neighborhood in Brooklyn, is a riff off the Brooklyn. Or so I learned oh-so-long ago when I first started experimenting with vintage cocktails (evidence on eGullet.com here, so old I’d forgotten about it myself).
Besides rye, the Brooklyn is made with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon, a bitter French aperitif with orange notes (though what French aperitif does not have orange notes?). Unfortunately, it’s awfully hard to come by Amer Picon these days. One recommended substitute is Torani Amer, but it’s really too one-note to make a strong showing in the place of Amer Picon. I have a solution. Stay tuned.
The Red Hook, on the other hand, is made with rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes, which is a fortifed wine (as is Lillet). This evening, I went with the Brooklyn, so I’ll explore the Red Hook other time.
You may have guessed (by both name and location) that the Brooklyn and the Red Hook are related to the Manhattan: Rye, vermouth (or something simliar) and bitters.
So for my Brooklyn, having only Torani Amer, I oomphed up the orange factor by doing two things: adding a shake of Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 and garnishing with an orange twist, including squeezing the oils onto the top of the cocktail.
It fit my mood, and the weather, just perfectly.
2 ounces rye
1 ounce dry vermouth
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/4 ounce Toriani Amer
2 dashes orange bitters
Orange twist garnish
Combine rye, vermouth, maraschino and Toriani Amer with ice in a large mixing glass and stir well with a bar spoon until the mixture is very cold. Strain into a coupe glass. Float the bitters on top of the drink, then squeeze the oils of the orange peel over the glass before garnishing with the peel. (For this photo, I used the Pouring Ribbons garnish, so squeezed a separate peel on top first. Watch this video to learn how to make the garnish.)