Recipe: The Brooklyn Cocktail

updated Jan 29, 2020
The Brooklyn Cocktail
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(Image credit: Maureen Petrosky)

Everybody knows that Brooklyn has made a huge comeback in real estate, restaurants and the cocktail scene. It’s only fitting this old school sip, named after the popular New York borough, is also showing face again.

Like a Manhattan, the Brooklyn is a whiskey-based drink — preferably made with spicier rye whiskey. However, that’s where the similarities end. Like the geographic locations themselves, though the cocktails are seemingly similar, at a closer look they are very unique. The Brooklyn calls for dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur. That magical cherry nestled in the V of your Manhattan can be also used to garnish a Brooklyn cocktail, but even better is replacing it with a bright yellow lemon twist.

(Image credit: Maureen Petrosky)

The original Brooklyn cocktail uses a bittersweet French aperitif called Amer Picon. But this represents a kink for those of us wanting to make it today because this aperitif is no longer available in the United States. According to cocktail historian Dave Wondrich, if you can find the Italian amaro Cio Ciaro, use that instead — it’s the closest substitute.

Since I could find neither, I went with a healthy dose of orange bitters instead when whipping up my version of the Brooklyn. That’s the thing with mixology, the tried and true are fabulous but sometimes the new and adventurous concoctions can be just as rewarding.

This week, don’t skip chilling your martini glass. An ice cold Brooklyn cocktail served in a chilly glass alongside some cold triple creme cheese and crackers makes for a dynamite happy hour in no time.

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Serves 1

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 ounces

    rye whiskey (or bourbon)

  • 1/2 ounce

    dry vermouth

  • 1/4 ounce

    Amer Picon (or Cio Ciaro or another bitter you may like to try)

  • 1/4 ounce

    maraschino liqueur

  • Lemon twist or Maraschino cherry for garnish, optional


  1. Place a martini glass in the freezer to chill for 10 to 15 minutes. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the rye, dry vermouth, Amer Picon, and maraschino liqueur. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into the chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Recipe Notes

Don't substitute maraschino cherry juice for the liqueur. This liqueur is not syrupy and is clear in color. It's worth the investment in a bottle, like one of these, to make the cocktail correctly.