Continuing with the “cocktails-named-after-New York City-boroughs” theme, I present to you – the Brooklyn. This Manhattan variation is a more complex and dry alternative to its forefather, and although the Brooklyn may be less well-known than its neighbor, it’s equally delicious. Maybe even more delicious. So why haven’t you heard of it? Well, there’s a good reason for that: Amer Picon.
Amer Picon is a French bitter liqueur made from dried oranges, cinchona bark and gentian root, then sweetened and coloured with sugar and caramel. This apéritif was created in 1837 in Philippeville, Algeria by Gaetan Picon, a French cavalry sergeant serving in Algeria during France’s imperial reign over the country. It’s my understanding that the liqueur is bittersweet, lightly syrupy and possesses bold, complex orange flavors with hints of quinine and mocha coffee. In other words: exquisite. The problem? Amer Picon distribution has been essentially limited to France for near-as-makes-no-difference 100 years.
Thank the heavens for Jamie Boudreau of Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium bar in Seattle, who came up with a formula that is reportedly identical to the original Amer Picon in both taste and proof. So after whipping up a batch of orange tincture and mixing it with Ramazzotti Amaro and some Stirrings Blood Orange bitters, I had my very own “Amer Boudreau” from which to construct a bona fide Brooklyn. Nice.
- 2 oz. Knob Creek Small Batch rye whiskey
- ¾ oz. Martini & Rossi dry vermouth
- ¼ oz. Amer Picon (homemade using Jamie Boudreau’s replica)
- ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
Add everything to your mixing glass, along with enough ice to fill the glass ¾ full. Stir clockwise until cold (15 to 20 seconds, I guess). [WARNING: stirring counterclockwise may result in serious personal injury or death. I won’t tell you how many horrible compound wrist fractures I’ve seen due to ill-fated counterclockwise stirring. Grisly scenes for sure.] Strain into a lovely chilled coupe and garnish with Beastie Boys.
Again, using a 100 proof rye is key here to stand up to the sweetness of the Maraschino and to maintain a hairy chest. The dry vermouth does its duty to balance out this sweetness with aplomb. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this cocktail exhibits wonderful complexity, depth of flavour, and balance. It’s brilliant. Like the borough itself, this cocktail is definitely not deserving of the B&T pejorative.