MxMo XII: Whiskey

MxMo WhiskeyJimmy Patrick’s hosting this month’s Mixology Monday, and he’s chosen the theme whisk(e)y. As I noted earlier, I came across a tasty recipe while researching uses for Cherry Heering (I’ve slightly adapted CockailDB’s proportions):

High Hat

  • 2 oz. rye
  • ½ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. lemon juice

Technique: Shake, strain, etc.

The interplay of the rye (Rittenhouse BIB, in this case) and the Heering is fun. The cherry notes play well with the peppery qualities of the rye. This drink belongs in our rotation, for sure.

I’ve been enjoying another group of drinks, as well, also based on rye, and these are a couple of Manhattan/Brooklyn adaptations that have arisen fairly recently: the Red Hook and the Greenpoint. The Manhattan, of course, is whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters; whereas the Brooklyn is traditionally whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino, and a dash of Amer Picon.

As a word of explanation, Red Hook and Greenpoint are both waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Red Hook was a hardscrabble shipping neighborhood–the inspiration for the film On the Waterfront. Greenpoint is a Polish-immigrant neighborhood–the northernmost Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood before you cross Newtown Creek into Queens.

I’m not sure of the Greenpoint’s origins (and, in fact, I’m not sure the name derives from the Brooklyn neighborhood), but as Paul Clarke notes, the Red Hook originated at New York’s Milk and Honey. I’ve assumed that the Greenpoint is simply a Red Hook variation with a green liqueur, named after a “green” Brooklyn nabe, but that might be erroneous folk etymology on my part.

The Red Hook starts with a Manhattan base (rye and sweet vermouth–or, preferably, rye and Punt e Mes) and adds a small amount of maraschino–about one quarter or one half an ounce. The Greenpoint takes the same recipe and substitutes Chartreuse (green, natch) for the maraschino.

These are both delightful drinks, and I thought it might be fun to riff on them a bit. But my reach exceeded my grasp, I’m afraid. I figured I’d mix up some rye with sweet vermouth and Cherry Heering. Ugh. I even borrowed the lemon juice from the High Hat, and still… no. It was like the War of the fucking Roses in that glass.

I suspect there are ways, without getting cutesy, of crafting a Williamsburg or a Park Slope, but I’m afraid I didn’t find that answer tonight.

2 thoughts on “MxMo XII: Whiskey

  1. Well, Michael, my contribution to this month’s MixMo suggests that most anyone can riff on the Manhattan and succeed so I’m disappointed to hear that your experiments didn’t work to your satisfaction. I’ll mention, though, that I think where you went wrong was adding sweet to sweet. I haven’t sprung for Punt e Mes or Antica yet but I understand they’re both more bitter and drier than most sweet vermouths. Maybe one of them would work with Cherry Heering and rye. My first suggestion, though, would be to instead try dry vermouth and a heavy hand with the bitters of your choice.

    Ultimately, though, I’m guessing you’ll find that you’ve got to stick with bitter and/or herbal to make a successful variation on the Manhattan. The reason the High Hat works, as I’m sure you know, is that it’s a Sour and not a Manhattan at all.

  2. The Greenpoint, by Michael Mcilroy, is indeed a variation on the Brooklyn cocktail, after made Enzo’s Red Hook started this thread. Other M&H employees have since come up the with the Bensonhurst and The Cobble Hill. The great borough of Queens is still waiting for its drink, however….

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