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Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

Brooklyn isn’t just the most populated borough in New York City. It’s also a pre-prohibition cocktail that sips like a dream. When you follow our easy Brooklyn cocktail recipe, you’ll forget about the other four boroughs before you get to the bottom of the glass.

Brooklyn Cocktail with Black Background from Above

Brooklyn is no longer under the shadow of Manhattan. Rents have soared on the other side of the East River and for good reason. NYC’s most populated borough is rich with history, culture and cuisine. Plus, New York City’s biggest borough is home to some of the city’s best bagel shops, bakeries and pizzerias.

Alas, the same can’t be said about the Brooklyn cocktail. While bartenders around the world serve more than a few Manhattans to thirsty drinkers, many mixologists don’t bother with the Brooklyn. The potent potable named after the ‘other’ borough just isn’t that popular.

Since we’ve seen more than a few Brooklyn wannabes in cities as diverse as Bucharest, Helsinki and Lisbon during our travels, we won’t be surprised when and if this status changes. Maybe Brooklyn (the cocktail) needs a better PR rep.

Fun Fact
Brooklyn and Manhattan aren’t the only NYC boroughs with signature cocktails. The Bronx and Queens have them too. Sorry Staten Island!

What Is A Brooklyn Cocktail?

Brooklyn Cocktail from Above with White Background
Despite its name, the Brooklyn is a global cocktail with ingredients hailing from both the US and Europe.

The Brooklyn is a pre-prohibition cocktail crafted with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and amaro. It’s also a strong cocktail with not even one mixer in its ingredient list.

Yes, this tasty tipple will knock your socks off if you drink too many. Luckily, it’s the kind of drink best enjoyed slowly – one sip at a time.

Discover more of our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

History Of The Brooklyn Cocktail

Brooklyn Cocktail with Brooklyn Bridge View at Manhatta
We drank this Brooklyn cocktail in Manhattan with a front row view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Despite its relative anonymity, The Brooklyn cocktail is no neophyte.

While history is fuzzy as to its exact origin, The Brooklyn cocktail dates back to at least 1908. That’s the year that Jacob Grohusko, a Manhattan bartender, made the drink famous by including the cocktail’s recipe in his original Jack’s Manual.

The Brooklyn’s fame was solidified when Harry Craddock included the same recipe in the iconic book, The Savoy Cocktail, 22 years later. However, the Brooklyn fell out of favor for awhile.

Recently, however, we’ve noticed the Brooklyn popping up on bar menus both in New York City and beyond. Perhaps the centenarian cocktail’s history is yet to fully unfold.

Brooklyn Cocktail Ingredients

Brooklyn Cocktail Ingredients
The Brooklyn cocktail’s short ingredient list includes dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, amaro and rye whiskey (pictured left to right). A maraschino cherry garnish completes the cocktail.

We’ll be impressed if you have all of the following Brooklyn ingredients on hand:

  • Rye Whiskey
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Amaro
  • Maraschino Liqueur
  • Ice (for stirring)
  • Maraschino Cherries (garnish)

You should be able to any missing ingredients at your local liquor store or online. The only challenge may be finding the best the right amaro – more about that later.

Rye Whiskey

Brooklyn Cocktail and Bulleit Rye Bottle
Bulleit has been producing rye whiskey since 2011. We bought this bottle in 2023.

Rye distilled in the USA is similar to American bourbon with one key exception – it must be distilled with at least 51% rye.

Bulliet is clearly an over-achiever since its rye whiskey is made with 95% rye and 5% malted barley. Produced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, it has a 45% ABV. Simultaneously spicy and fruity, the award-winning rye tastes great both on the rocks and in cocktails like the Brooklyn.

Dry Vermouth

Noilly Prat White Vermouth Bottle
Noilly Prat produces vermouth in France and sells it around the world. We typically have a bottle in our home bar.

Unlike sweet vermouth, which is typically ruby red and produced in Italy, dry vermouth is white and has French roots. Most people have a bottle of the fortified wine at home since it’s a mandatory martini ingredient. It’s also a great substitute for white wine when cooking.

We keep a bottle of Noilly Prat dry vermouth in our liquor cabinet. We like that its recipe has 14 botanicals. It has an ABV of 18%.

Discover our favorite dry vermouth cocktails.

Amaro

Ramazzotti Amaro Bottle
We bought this bottle of Ramazzoti amaro specifically to craft Brooklyn cocktails.

Finding the right amaro will be your biggest challenge.

The classic cocktails’s original recipe called for Amer Picon, a bitter French amer with orange undertones. Since that liqueur is difficult to find in America, most bartenders replace Amer Picon with an Italian amaro. We did the same when we added Ramazzotti to our Brooklyn recipe.

Pernod Ricard produces Ramazzotti in Milan with 33 aromatic botanicals and a 30% ABV. We were attracted to this particular amaro because of the Calabrian oranges in its ingredient list.

Pro Tip
Add a couple dashes on Angostura bitters if you don’t have a bottle of amer or amaro on hand.

Maraschino Liqueur

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Bottle
This tall bottle of Luxardo maraschino cherry is a cocktail MVP in our liquor cabinet.

Luxardo produces our preferred maraschino liqueur. No surprise there since we’re obsessed with the Italian company’s maraschino cherries.

We initially bought a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur, which has a 32% ABV, to craft Hemingway Daiquiris and have since used it to craft cocktails like the Aviation, Martinez and Last Word. We can now add the Brooklyn to this esteemed cocktail list.

Discover our favorite maraschino liqueur cocktails.

Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo Cherries with Spoon
We always have a jar of Luxardo cherries in our pantry.

We mentioned that we’re obsessed with Luxardo cherries and that hasn’t changed over the years.

We regularly garnish cocktails with these Italian cherries and add them to bowls of vanilla ice cream. We also use the ebony orbs in food recipes and on cheese plates.

Discover our favorite ways to use Luxardo cherries.

How To Craft A Brooklyn Cocktail

Brooklyn Cocktail Mise en Place
We raided our liquor cabinet and cocktail tool kit before we crafted our first Brooklyn cocktails.

You don’t need to live in Brooklyn to craft a Brooklyn cocktail at home. You also don’t need any fancy equipment or tools. We use the following in our Brooklyn cocktail recipe:

Feel free to improvise if you’re missing any or all of these cocktails. For example, you could use a regular spoon instead of a bar spoon and a small angled measuring cup instead of a jigger.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Brooklyn Cocktail on Counter
We’re pleased to report that crafting a Brooklyn cocktail is easier than crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

The first step in our Brooklyn recipe is to measure the four liquors. We like to use a Japanese jigger in this and other cocktail recipes to ensure accurate measurements and clean pours.

Purchase a Japanese Jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Maraschino Liqueur for a Brooklyn Cocktail
Measuring liquor is easy with a Japanese jigger.

Pour the liquors directly into a mixing glass after you measure each.

Purchase a new mixing glass if you need one or want an upgrade.

Pouring Liquor into a Mixing Glass
While you don’t need to use a fancy mixing glass in this or other cocktail recipes, you may want to use one anyway for the wow factor.

Add a handful of ice and stir until the ingredients are combined and chilled. This step should take 20 to 30 seconds.

Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass.

Pro Tip
While you could technically use a different type of glass, a coupe glass works best in this recipe.

Straining a Brooklyn Cocktail
You’ll immediately notice the Brooklyn’s amber color when you start straining it into your coupe glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry or two.

Brooklyn Cocktail Close Up from Above
We like to garnish our Brooklyn cocktails with two Luxardo cherries since, as previously noted, we love them.

You’ll want to start sipping right away while the cocktail is still chilled by the ice. However, don’t rush to the bottom of the glass. In our opinion, the cocktail improves as it warms to room temperature.

Brooklyn Cocktail Alternatives

Crafted Brooklyn Cocktail with Bottles
There’s no denying that the Brooklyn is a handsome cocktail.

While you have to travel to New York to decide if Brooklyn is your favorite borough, you can make your decision about the Brooklyn cocktail at home. If you’re not enamored with its taste, craft one of the following classic cocktails instead:

Brooklyn Cocktail FAQs

What is the Brooklyn cocktail?

The Brooklyn cocktail is pre-prohibition cocktail crafted with rye whiskey, dry vermouth, amaro and maraschino liqueur.

What are the ingredients in a Brooklyn cocktail?

Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Amaro, Maraschino Liqueur, Ice (for stirring) and Maraschino Cherries (garnish)

What’s the best rye whiskey to use in a Brooklyn cocktail?

We recommend using your favorite rye whiskey when you craft a Brooklyn cocktail at home.

Is the Brooklyn cocktail shaken or stirred?

The Brooklyn cocktail is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for a Brooklyn cocktail?

We like to use coupe glasses when we craft Brooklyn cocktails and you should do the same.

Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

Brooklyn Cocktail with White Background

Brooklyn Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Brooklyn isn't just a borough in New York City. Follow our easy recipe and craft a Brooklyn cocktail at home.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce amaro
  • ice cubes
  • 1 or 2 maraschino cherries

Instructions

    1. Pour liquids into a mixing glass.
    2. Add several ice cubes and stir until liquids are mixed and chilled.
    3. Strain into a coupe glass.
    4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry or two.

Notes

  • You can replace the amaro with a few drops of Angostura bitters.

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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: April 28, 2022

Kevin

Sunday 21st of May 2023

Been wanting to try this and finally got myself some amaro. This is delicious! Thanks for your service to the cocktail drinker!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Sunday 21st of May 2023

So glad you like the Brooklyn too. Cheers!

Ryan

Monday 1st of May 2023

Fun fact. I was thumbing through a copy of "Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix them" . It actually bills the nearest facsimile to this recipe as a "Brooklyn #2". It calls for 2/3 jigger of (unspecified) whiskey, 1/3 jigger of French vermouth, 1 dash of maraschino, and 2 drops of bitters, making it practically identical to several variations of the Manhattan. Their claim to an original "Brooklyn" is 1/2 jigger of Gin, 1/2 an egg white, 1/4 jigger of Italian Vermouth, 2 drops of orange, and nutmeg to taste.

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