The West Side Park turned out not to be my only attempt at getting in on the Brooklyn/Red Hook craze, which has been made official by Paul Clarke’s inclusion of the Red Hook in his recent (and apparently controversial) list of the 25 most influential cocktails of the last century.  I like the funkiness of Maraschino sometimes, but a lot of times it ends up tasting weird to me – almost pickly.  Therefore, while I really like the balance in the Red Hook, I don’t necessarily want to actually drink one all that often.  A few nights ago The Girlfriend and I had a sort of miniature drink-making contest, where we each put together two drinks and, well, drank them.  She’s promised to write about the one she came up with (once she thinks up a name), but I came up with two I’m really pleased with – a rhum agricole-based Martinique Smash (more on that later), and this, The Black Forest.

The Black Forest

  • 2 oz bourbon (Bulleit’s)
  • 3/4 oz Cynar
  • 1/4 oz kirschwasser (Clear Creek)
  • 2-3 dashes chocolate bitters (Scrappy’s)
    Stir well with ice.  Strain into a cocktail glass, squeeze an orange peel over and drop in.

Do Black Forest Cakes have cherries in them? Hey, they do!  And even chocolate.  It’s a good thing, because I’m just too damn pleased with this name: it’s got a location (essential for the Red Hook family), ingredients, and it even acknowledges that it’s related to the Black Manhattan.

I got the inspiration for the liqueur switch from the entry on the Singapore Sling in Vintage Cocktails.  Jay at Oh Gosh! also has some interesting meditations on switching cherry-based liqueurs for the Remember the Maine (a cocktail which I really must remember to make more often myself).  The amaro-whiskey mix has the usual effect of being delicious (heck, by themselves I’m pretty sure a 2:1 Cynar and bourbon mix, much like a Toronto, would be delicious), while the kirsch is just funky enough to be interesting, with more of a fresh cherry taste than Maraschino provides.  The chocolate bitters help lead the drink in that general direction, which is not much of a stretch, with the deep vanilla flavors of  the bourbon, the fusel-alcohol notes from the kirsch, and the sweet/bitter mix from the Cynar.  All in all a delightful cocktail, and a testament to the flexibility of the Brooklyn/Red Hook archetype.