Citizen Cocktail

With Le Fish as our special tester, enjoy the first of our cocktail series.

By Teo J. Babini - Guest: Le Fish - Video: Luca and Maddalena Di Prospero

Citizen Cocktail: The Citizen Brooklyn
For the inaugural installment of our Citizen Cocktail series, we’ll be making an extra-BK version of the classic Brooklyn cocktail. The Brooklyn cocktail is one of a family of cocktails named after the five boroughs (Shaolin’s being called the Staten Island Ferry and the Boogie Down’s missing its “The”). It’s most closely related to the most famous of its cousins, the Manhattan. This is a pre-prohibition era cocktail.


The basic instructions are to stir the ingredients with ice until chilled, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a cherry. Stirring is the more common method of chilling dark liquors, as it amounts to less watering down.


The Tools:
For the fancy, you’ll need three slow pourers, one leopold jigger, one mixing glass, one teardrop bar spoon, one julep strainer and one cocktail glass, as well as access to ice cubes.


Explanation – Slow pourers allow you to better control the amount of liquid you’re pouring into your jigger. The leopold jigger is useful because it has notches that indicate different amounts (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 oz. on the small side, and 11/2 and 2 oz. on the bigger side). The mixing glass is used to stir your ingredients over ice with the teardrop side of your bar spoon, the motion is very smooth when held correctly and you can also use the spoon end to grab your cherries from the jar. The julep strainer fits perfectly into your mixing glass to keep the ice out of your drink. The classic cocktail glass is what most people know as a martini glass, but with a slightly narrower cone; its bowl is designed to maximize the aromatics of the beverage while its stem keeps your hands from warming it up.For those of you on a budget, you can use any large glass for a mixing glass, silverware to stir and any glassware you have around to serve. The difficult parts are measuring out the ingredients and proper straining.


The Ingredients:
The original recipe calls for 2 oz. whiskey, 1 oz. dry vermouth, 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur, 1/4 oz. Amer Picon and a maraschino cherry for garnish.
The simple choices for me were the Italians; I opted for classic Martini and Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth (mainly because I would also use it to make a Martini) and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (I dig the straw bottle, and know the brand well from their delicious REAL maraschino cherries).


Now, the traditional choice of whiskey is usually Rye (Or Canadian Whiskey), but to give the drink a bit of flavor from its namesake, I decided to grab a local poison, most of which is bourbon. There are a couple of options in the borough, none more Brooklyn proud than King’s County Bourbon (I also like the bootlegger-style bottle). And, for the sake of continuity, I have selected Woodford Reserve’s Bourbon Cherries, which I personally think are the best tasting cocktail cherries available, as well as surprisingly affordable.


The controversial ingredient in this cocktail is the Amer Picon, a bitter orange flavored French amaro, as it’s completely unavailable in the US. There are many variations of the Brooklyn using different ingredients, named after the borough’s neighborhoods, but to make the original, most bartenders try to find an adequate replacement. Many people lazily use a few dashes Angostura Bitters, while others use different amari sometimes spiking them with a dash of orange bitters. I selected Bittermens Amere Nouvelle, not because of the quality of its replication, but because it was designed specifically to be used in this cocktail.


Tasting Notes:
King’s County Bourbon, at 45% alcohol, has a powerful flavor, almost overpowering. So this is perfect for those who like their drink dry and enjoy the flavor of whiskey as it comes. For those who enjoy the subtleties of a well-made cocktail, and perhaps those who would normally want to mask the flavor of the base-spirit, I would recommend maybe adjusting the recipe to 11/2 oz. whiskey and upping the non-vermouth ingredients to a 1/2 oz. each for a slightly sweeter, more fruity flavor. But always keep in mind that this was intended to be a dry, bitter whiskey beverage, not a whiskey and coke. Happy Holidays! (Please drink responsibly)

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