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.

Gran Classico

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.

Eighteenth Cocktail

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.

7 thoughts on “MxMo–BBS

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  2. I agree … the Manhattan is my all time favorite drink and I love to drink the many riffs particularly the Greenpoint, the Slope and the Bushwick. I equally like to sub in sweet vermouth for the dry in a Brooklyn and actually sounds a lot like the formulation for the Bushwick (save some adjustments on proportions).

    Erik: I haven’t tried the Gran Classico but what would be your recommendation for testing it out … i.e. similar to the above re: Manhattan variations; as a replacement for Amer Picon/Amer Replica in a drink; etc?

    • In my experience, it works well in older recipes like the Old Pal where the Campari is a large component. In newer recipes, like the Jasmine or Tailspin, where the Campari is essentially functioning as a bitters or colorant, it either doesn’t work or the recipe needs significant adjustment.

      Camper English told me it is fantastic in an equal parts cocktail with the Aged St. George Agua Libre, Dry Vermouth, and Gran Classico. A Rhum Old Pal.

  3. FWIW: the oldest recipe I know of for the Brooklyn calls for sweet, not dry vermouth. It’s from Jack’s Manual, published 1910 (which I understand is an extremely rare first edition). Here’s that recipe, verbatim:


    1 dash Amer. Picon bitters
    1 dash Maraschino
    50% rye
    50% Italian Vermouth
    Fill glass with ice
    Stir and Strain. Serve.

    The “50%” refers to Jack’s measurement system based on a “half whiskey glass” or 1 jigger.

  4. What—not “New Utrecht”? Or how about “Canarsie”? Seriously, though. this looks like one I’ll have to make both in SF and for Brooklyn friends when I visit.

  5. I see, I see. You’re cool Erik. A week and a half ago I made the Eighteenth Cocktail as a bottled cocktail to enjoy after work with some friends. The coincidences continue. I’m enjoying your blog a lot.

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