The darker, colder months often set the mood for strong, spirit-driven sippers. Scrolling back through past recipes we have posted in late autumn or early winter, we typically select Manhattan-like cocktails or, ideally, one of the Brooklyn variants. Having explored most of them, we are running out of neighborhoods. They are, of course, modern riffs on the classic Brooklyn, which itself is just an extension of the Manhattan. Here is one that we hadn’t tried until now, and it might be our favorite.
Named for Park Slope, the Brooklyn, New York neighborhood, this drink was created by Julie Reiner in 2009 at the Clover Club nearby. Like other Brooklyn cocktails, this one features rye whiskey with a bitter substitution for sweet vermouth, plus an accent liqueur.
Slope by Julie Reiner
2.5 oz rye whiskey
.75 oz Punt e Mes (an Italian vermouth)
.25 oz apricot brandy (Marie Brizard’s Apry is recommended)
1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.
If you happen to enjoy the Manhattan but have not explored the Brooklyn family, you are missing a fantastic string of modern innovations definitely worth your while. We started with the Red Hook years ago and moved through them one by one. Because each is unique, it can take time to track down all of the ingredients, but the balance remaining in those bottles will round out your inventory to unlock other classics.
As Brooklyn variants go, this one is exceptional. We appreciate the extra half ounce of rye in this drink (who wouldn’t?), and it is not a complicated recipe. For the bitter/vermouth component Reiner chose Punt e Mes which is Italian for “point and a half”. Several stories have floated around to explain this oddly-named vermouth product, but most cocktail enthusiasts think about the flavor as having two parts sweet vermouth and one part amaro. However, bitterness is not the dominant character of Punt e Mes. We get more of a bittersweet chocolate nuance without it becoming too esoteric. It is approachable enough that you could rely on it for other cocktails that call for sweet vermouth and actually breathe new life into even the most basic Manhattan recipe.
A small amount of liqueur is typical of cocktails in this family, and for the Slope we have apricot. Sometimes called apricot brandy which is technically a misnomer, this choice adds an uncommon but familiar flavor to the drink that we absolutely love. Most of our apricot ends up in the Rural Juror / Pendennis Club cocktails, so it is nice to pull out this bottle for something else once in a while. The apricot adds some balancing sweetness but it also lingers nicely on the finish where you taste it even minutes past your last sip.
Overall, we really enjoy the Slope and are happy to add it to the Brooklyn variant repertoire. Give this one a try and let us know what you think in the comments.