As befits a city with the stature of New York, plenty of cocktails have been named after Big Apple destinations over the years, from the Bronx, the Brooklyn and the Park Avenue to the Greenpoint and the Astoria. But hands-down the most famous of these concoctions is, of course, the Manhattan.
Ironically, however, for decades after Prohibition ended, you couldn’t fix a Manhattan—or any New York-centric drink for that matter—with ingredients actually produced in the state. To cocktail geeks living in the five boroughs, this was an embarrassment, an indignity even.
Fortunately, in 2002, Gov. George Pataki signed into law a bill creating a new and more affordable distilling license, and in 2003, Tuthilltown Spirits started up in the Hudson Valley. Now, the region is dotted with distilleries, and you can’t throw a rock in Brooklyn without hitting a fledgling liquor venture.
And with the recent launch of Atsby Vermouth, New York’s first vermouth in years, it’s finally possible to make a “native” Manhattan as well as a number of other Empire State-themed tipples using entirely homegrown spirits and bitters.
So try my recipes for a Manhattan, the somewhat lesser-known Bronx and the obscure but quite tasty New Yorker—all of which call for local alcohol. As of yet, there are no definitive versions of the Queens or Staten Island cocktails: Time for you to get mixing and shaking!
Tony Sachs is a freelance writer who lives in New York.