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Drink of the Week: Greenpoint

GreenpointAs most of us settle into a weekend of turkey dinner leftovers in all of their various forms, it made sense to feature another riff on a popular classic—not that this is actually a leftover—the Greenpoint is a nice cocktail in it's own right. However, since most drinks evolve from some earlier recipe, I guess this is as much a variation of a Manhattan as a turkey sandwich is a variation of roast turkey. It's important to mention that in addition to evolving from the Manhattan, the Greenpoint is actually one of the Brooklyn neighborhood variants spawned by the Red Hook. It won't be the last that I feature, but it might be the best.

Since the basis for the Greenpoint is the Red Hook, and by extension, the Manhattan, it should come as no surprise that that this is going to be a rye whiskey cocktail with vermouth. Following the Brooklyn formula, you may recall that our base spirit is combined with sweet vermouth (or a variant) and some liqueur. While the Red Hook takes advantage of the bitter complexity of Branca's Punt e Mes, here I'm sticking with Carpano Antica Formula, an old recipe Italian vermouth also from Branca which adds a sweeter depth with a strong boost of vanilla. Then, instead of maraschino we will opt for Yellow Chartreuse.

Greenpoint
2 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.5 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest twist.

Chartreuse comes in two basic forms. Green Chartreuse is fairly common but you may have to look around a bit for the yellow. The bottles are practically identical so when you find it you may need good lighting to tell what color you have. The flavors are similar, but the higher-proof green variety is bold and strong with the yellow being somewhat less intense and sweeter. Any serious mixologist or bar owner should have both, but it is something that could be acquired over time. Over the past year or so, replenished inventories have reflected increased prices on Chartreuse, and although you should use the yellow to make this drink, subbing green at a lower proportion can still yield a decent drink.

The bitters help to pull everything together, but the proportions overall are flexible. Most recipes specify the ingredients as noted, but Jim Meehan's recent PDT Cocktail Book calls for Punt e Mes at a full ounce and only bar spoon of Yellow Chartreuse, dropping the orange bitters altogether for what is probably a boozier if not slightly bitter overall flavor profile. The point is that you should feel free to experiment, and while you're at it, start lining up the liqueurs to see what you can come up with on your own. Someone may have already named your experiment after another Brooklyn neighborhood, but when a formula works and you like the result, it doesn't really matter what you call it!

4 comments to Drink of the Week: Greenpoint

  • I still can't believe how hard it is to tell which Chartreuse bottle is which. I zoom in on the proof to know for sure.

    Also, there are some bars around here who prefer to make their Green Points with Green Chartreuse. While sharper and less preferable to the yellow variation, it is still quite good.

  • Frederic, Thanks for the validation on the Green Chartreuse on both fronts. At least I know I'm not the only one that has trouble telling them apart in the dark shadows of my cabinet! Also, that you can (and that many do) make this drink using Green is nice to know. It certainly fits the name a little better. Yellowpoint may have been a better name!

  • Rick Wood

    Randy,
    Your site has become my first destination when looking for a new cocktail and for reconsidering a cocktail I am familiar with!

    Just had the Greenpoint.
    First I had it as is with the yellow. I liked it - loved the flavor but found it too sweet.

    Then I did it with the green. Herbal Ryeey (probably not a word) and less sweet. By far my preference. Next stop trying it "perfect" - half green and half yellow. In my defense I had a 1/2 size on the second one.

    Thanks so muck for your efforts.

    Rick Wood

  • Rick, I am glad you are enjoying this one. There are plenty more "Brooklyn" variations to explore. Check out the Red Hook, Bensonhurst, Kirkwood, and a bunch of others. I haven't tried them all, but I haven't found one I didn't enjoy. Also, let's not forget about Meehan's Newark cocktail. That's a personal favorite of mine. Have liqueur? Invent another (probably to discover it's already created!). Also, I guess most of the Brooklyn neighborhoods are spoken for, so you might have to name your creation after a place in your hometown.

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