While the borough of Manhattan is well-known for its contributions to the cocktail world (primarily the drink that shares its name), Brooklyn, Manhattan’s easterly sister, doesn’t get as much attention. But the boogie down borough has definitely given us some seriously great drinks. From the Cosmopolitan (yes, it’s a Brooklyn drink), to a Martini made with orange marmalade, these seven cocktails deserve to be held in the same esteem as their Manhattan brethren.
Created by The Long Island Bar’s owner Tony Cecchini in 1987 at the Odeon, the Cosmopolitan followed the bartender to this Brooklyn stalwart. While the cocktail is not officially on the bar menu—and you may have to order a few cocktails before Cecchini will make you one (try their Boulevardier)—it’s definitely worth seeking out. Cecchini’s original version of the stereotypically bright pink drink is dry and beautifully balanced. The explosion of tart cranberry and citrus you taste will make you’ll see why the drink was so popular in the first place.
Cold enough to give you an instant brain freeze, this frozen cocktail (also known as the “Coffee Thing”) whirs coffee together with brandy, bourbon and coffee liqueur. Dispensed from a slushie machine, it comes dusted with coffee grounds for even more caffeine, and an additional float of bourbon. With live country music, peanuts you can throw on the floor and a very NSFW bathroom wallpaper treatment, Skinny Dennis is a must-visit Brooklyn bar.
Created by BCC bartender Reggie Cunningham in 2006, the pickle back shot was a happy accident that became a Brooklyn staple. Originally made with brine from McClure's spicy pickle spears and a shot of Old Crow, the Pickleback has taken on a life of its own. While you can get the savory two-step shot at just about any Brooklyn bar these days, it’s best at the bar that originated the trend.
Reinventing a drink like the Piña Colada—which is already perfect—isn’t an easy task. The Brancolada, created by bartender Jeremy Oertel, not only managed to top the classic, it also inspired a whole new generation of bitter-boozy slushies (see below). Made with equal parts Fernet Branca Menta and Jamaican rum, the creamy cocktail has a sharp, minty freshness and a rich, bitter edge.
For this frozen slushie, bartender Sam Ross adapted his own creation, the Penicillin, into an icy delight. Named the Penichillin’ (for obvious reasons), the cocktail mixes blended scotch with lemon juice and a piquant honey-ginger syrup. Dispensed from a slushie machine, the decadently frosted sipper is garnished with a float of peat-heavy Laphroaig and a paper umbrella, and served with a fat straw for easy slurping.
Absinthe is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s loaded with the love-it-or-hate-it flavor of anise, and difficult to prepare properly (you can’t just pour yourself a glass of absinthe, neat). But Maison Premiere did for absinthe—and cocktails made with the spirit—what Sasha Petraske’s Milk & Honey did for classic cocktails. One of the best drinks on the menu is the Absinthe Frappe, a lost classic, excavated and perfected by the bar. Made with absinthe, simple syrup, fresh mint and seltzer, the cocktail is served long and tall over crushed ice. Impeccably crafted and gorgeous to behold, it is both decadent and minimalist.
From their take on the Irish Coffee (praised by the New York Times as the “best in the known world”) to their tiki-classic inspired White Zombie, the bartenders (and owner St. John Frizell) at Fort Defiance do cocktails right. Their take on the Breakfast Martini, originally created by Salvatore Calabrese, may be their most iconic interpretation. Made with Beefeater London Dry gin, Combier dry curaçao, fresh lemon juice and a dollop of orange marmalade, the Martini is crisp, floral, lively and extremely refreshing. The drink is so quaffable, in fact, it’s hard not to down it in one gulp.