A tale of two Bensonhursts

We’re huge fans of the Brooklyn Cocktail, which calls for rye whiskey, dry vermouth, Maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon. Of course, you can’t get Amer Picon in the States anymore, and even if you could, it bears no resemblance to the Amer Picon of old, the vintage 78-proof version that existed when this cocktail was invented. Torani Amer has been an excellent substitute, but despite its availability at Beverages and More and other places in-store or via mail-order, it can also be a little tricky to find.

In the comments section a while back, Julia said that she makes her Brooklyns with an Italian bitters called Amaro Ramazzotti, as Torani Amer isn’t available in Japan where she lives, and that it works beautifully. Last night we finally tried it, and man … she was right!

Of course, we had to come up with a new name, as “Brooklyn Variation” didn’t really cut it. I chose a name from Brooklyn’s largest Italian neighborhood (which actually dwarfed the size of Manhattan’s Little Italy). It may have a slightly different ethnic makeup these days due to shifting demographics, but historically when you think of Italians in Brooklyn, you think of this place.

Thing is, right around the same time Chad Solomon of Cuffs and Buttons in New York (and as of ’09 of The Tar Pit in Los Angeles, at least for a while) did the exact same thing, coming up with a Brooklyn variation using a different bitters and naming it after the same neighborhood. Well, since it’s pretty much his neighborhood and since he’s a famous bartender, his name is gonna stick. I’ll rename mine after one of that neighborhood’s more famous (albeit fictional) residents.

The Bensonhurst Cocktail
(created by Chad Solomon, 2006)

2 ounces rye
1 ounce Noilly Prat dry vermouth
2 barspoons (tsp) of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1 barspoon Cynar

Combine in a mixing glass with cracked ice, stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


The Kramden Cocktail
(created by Chuck Taggart, 2006)

2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 proof rye whiskey.
3/4 ounce dry vermouth.
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur.
1/4 ounce Amaro Ramazzotti.

Combine with ice in a mixing glass. Stir for no less than 30 seconds.
Strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a stemless cherry.

Since it was a New York place name drink I was going to name it after Ralph and Alice Kramden’s address (328 Chauncey Street, of course), but that cocktail name, according to CocktailDB, is already taken.

The Chauncey Cocktail

3/4 ounce rye whiskey.
3/4 ounce gin.
1/2 ounce brandy.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
1 dash orange bitters.

Combine with ice, stir for 20-30 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

If we keep going like this, the next variation will have to be called the Bang-Zoom. Or maybe the Norton.