The Drink: Your Winter into Spring transitional cocktail

March can be an odd month for drinking.  Unless you have this.

I hate winter.  Cold, dark, wet and depressing, the season’s only charms are exhausted before the tinsel is even off the tree.  My only consolation is that the brown, bitter, and boozy cocktails I love so much taste best when the weather is at its worst.

But what to drink as the weather turns again to tolerable?  50 degrees and drizzling isn’t weather for a dry gin martini, nor does it require the same fortifications as 10 degrees and snowing.  During the months on either side of winter, I often find myself still drinking cocktails based on brown, brooding spirits, but mixed with lighter accompaniments.  My favorite example is the Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn is essentially a 19th century-style Manhattan subbing dry vermouth for sweet and calling for a specific brand of bitters.  Light, herbal and a little bit floral with a boozy backbone, it’s the ideal cocktail for March—equal parts lion and lamb.

  • 2 oz.  Rye Whiskey (preferably 100 proof)
  • 1 oz.  Dry vermouth
  • .25 oz  Luxardo Maraschino
  • .25 oz  Amer Picon (unless you live in France, you’ll have to sub Torani Amer or make your own)

Stir over ice for 45 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish a real preserved cherry.  As I’ve noted before, good, fresh vermouth is essential.

About our Bartender – Michael Bowers is the Head Bartender at the Modern Hotel and Bar in Boise, Idaho.  His patrons know him for the uncanny precision with which he tends his bar.  Michael’s cocktails have been noted by, among others, Food and Wine, Sunset Magazine, and the New York Times.  See more in The Drink archive.