To be honest, variations on the Manhattan Cocktail are just about my favorite cocktails in the whole world. So when I heard Lindsey from the blog, “Brown, Bitter, and Stirred,” was hosting a Mixology Monday, I knew I had no choice but to participate. But what to feature? Well perhaps my favorite new bitter substance, Gran Classico, from Tempus Fugit Sprits.
According to the importers, Gran Classico is a “Bitter of Turin”, as is Campari. It is a bit similar to Campari in some ways, but in others more interesting. Campari’s bitterness is very single noted, almost entirely Quinine and Gentian, without much additional subtlety. Gran Classico, on the other hand, is deliciously complex, with quite a bit more varied herbal notes than Campari.
With the recent release of Gran Classico, a lot of people have been resurrecting the Old Pal Cocktail: Equal parts Rye, Campari, and Dry Vermouth, but replacing the Campari with Gran Classico. It is gosh darn delicious.
While I was thinking about which Campari recipes worked well with Gran Classico and which didn’t, another of my favorite cocktails came to mind: The Brooklyn.
Now I’ve been known to mess up the Brooklyn recipe, it is true, making it by accident, or intention, with Sweet Vermouth or Punt e Mes instead of Dry Vermouth.
So I thought I’d mess with it a bit more.
2 oz Rye
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc
1/2 oz Gran Classico Bitter
1 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in.
As it is traditional to name Brooklyn variations after neighborhoods or districts, I cast about for some inspiration. I made up the cocktail at our house, in Bernal Heights. As much as I love Bernal Heights, this really didn’t seem like a “Bernal Heights” cocktail. Maybe after the area where Heaven’s Dog is located? Nope, “SOMA Cocktail” even less appealing than Bernal Heights.
I asked the importer of Gran Classico the name of the neighborhood he lived in. He replied, “Bahia”. I was like, wha? Maybe if this was made with aged Cachaca or Pisco instead of Rye Whiskey… After a long bit of back and forth involving home towns, neighborhoods, and other sundry geographical designations, I finally asked him the neighborhood where his business partner lived in Paris. “He lives in the 18th, or Dix-Huitième in French.” Whew, finally, something I can hang with! The Eighteenth Cocktail. Mysterious enough to be puzzling, but not obscure. The fact that it was his partner’s neighborhood even gives it a good story. That works!
Now I like this cocktail as it is, but some have said it is a tad sweet. It’s not far from most modern Brooklyn variations, like the Slope or Greenpoint, but if you are a person who prefers aperitif type drinks, it is also good as a more literal Brooklyn, using Dry Vermouth instead of Blanc. Give the Eighteenth Cocktail a try either way, and let me know what you think.