“I was living in a particularly picturesque part of ‘Brownstone Brooklyn’ when I came up with this drink,” explains Joaquín Simó of this neighborhood-inspired drink. It’s a nod to Enzo Errico’s modern classic created at Milk & Honey in 2004—the Red Hook—named for Brooklyn’s western dockside community. “The drink was a calling card,” says Simó, “a secret handshake before cocktail bars were on every corner. If you walked into a bar and the knew how to make a Red Hook and had the ingredients to make it, you knew you were in a great spot.”
Soon after, it became popular for cocktail bartenders to riff on Brooklyns and Manhattans, and name them after other New York City neighborhoods. Everything from the Bushwick to the Bensonhurst has since entered the cocktail lexicon. Simó’s contribution to the family of brown and stirred drinks nods to the Italian-American roots of Carroll Gardens, where social clubs, Italian delis and front-lawn Madonna and Child statues still pepper the tree-lined streets. A classic base of American rye combined with entirely Italian set of modifiers creates a bittersweet herbal richness Simó likens to marzipan and stone fruit.