The Greenpoint: A modern day variation of the Brooklyn
Yesterday we talked about the Brooklyn cocktail which is a variation of the Manhatten that has been experiencing a rise in popularity since 2000. The fun thing about the Brooklyn is that it has spawned a number of riffs named after neighborhoods in the borough, all created by modern bartenders with mad skills. One such drink that just so happens to be my favorite riff is the Greenpoint, named after the northernmost area of Brooklyn, and center of all things hipster. The Greenpoint was created in 2005 by Michael McIlroy, a Milk & Honey NYC alum, who now runs Attaboy and the newly opened Diamond Reef in Brooklyn with Sam Ross, also originally from Milk & Honey. The importance of this particular bar, along with its owner Sasha Petraske and its amazing bartenders, cannot be underestimated. Michael Simonson, author of the book A Proper Drink, actually credits it with launching the cocktail renaissance by saying, “If I had to pinpoint a start date for when the movement began in earnest, I’d say [it was] the opening of Milk & Honey on December 31, 1999.”
The main reason why the Greenpoint is my favorite is because McIlroy brings yellow Chartreuse into the mix, and I love the way it combines so beautifully with the rye whiskey. When making this cocktail for today’s post, I felt like I had two different ways I could go with it. For starters, I had to use a strong rye with either option because I needed it to provide the backbone for a cocktail that’s fairly boozy. I chose Bulleit rye because it’s 95 proof. As far as my choice for the sweet vermouth, you all know how much I love the deeper variations like Carpano Antica and Punt E Mes, yet in this case I decided on Dolin rouge instead. I was looking for delicacy here so as not to overwhelm the Chartreuse, and I felt as though the heavier vermouths would just be too powerful. I had a similar feeling about the bitters. Angostura bitters pack a considerably spicy punch, and orange bitters can be fairly potent as well. Once again, I wanted to allow the Chartreuse to take center stage. I decided to stick with my choice from yesterday, and use the DRAM Citrus Medica bitters instead. They are citrus forward bitters that also have hints of delicate spices that complement the Chartreuse very well. If I were going with the heavier vermouths then the better match would be the Angostura and the orange bitters. Try the drink both ways and see which version you like best! If you don’t have the DRAM bitters and you want to use the Dolin rouge, I’d go with 1 dash of orange bitters and no Angostura.
For additional Brooklyn variations and links to their recipes, Kara Newman has a great article that she’s written for Punch. You can link to it here.
The Greenpoint Cocktail original recipe from Michael McIlroy created for Milk & Honey, NYC
2 ounces Bulleit rye
½ ounce Dolin Rouge vermouth*
½ ounce yellow Chartreuse
2 dashes DRAM Citrus Medica**
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 30-45 seconds with a long-handled bar spoon or until cold. Strain into a chilled martini or cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!
*Substitute a richer vermouth like a Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes if you prefer a heavier drink.
**Substitute orange bitters here if you don’t have the DRAM, or go with the original recipe which calls for 1 dash of orange and 1 dash of Angostura, especially if you go with the heavier vermouth.