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The Red Hook cocktail is a modern twist on the classic Brooklyn cocktail.
Its roots trace back to 2003 when it was first created by Vincenzo Errico at Milk & Honey, a renowned bar in New York City. Named after the Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn, this cocktail embodies the essence and spirit of its namesake, offering a unique blend of flavors that pays homage to its origins while presenting a fresh perspective on traditional ingredients.
As said, the Red Hook cocktail creation was inspired by the Brooklyn cocktail, a classic drink that has been a part of the cocktail canon for decades. The Brooklyn cocktail itself is a variation of the more widely known Manhattan, substituting sweet vermouth with dry and introducing Amer Picon and maraschino liqueur into the mix. In crafting the Red Hook, Errico sought to simplify yet enrich the flavor profile of its predecessor, focusing on creating a balance that would enhance the individual components while presenting a unified and compelling taste experience.
The Red Hook is made with three ingredients: rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, and Punt e Mes (or alternatively, sweet vermouth). Each ingredient plays a crucial role in the cocktail’s overall profile, contributing depth, balance, and complexity of flavors.
Rye whiskey is the backbone of the Red Hook, providing a robust and spicy base that complements the sweetness of the other ingredients. Its bold character is essential to the cocktail’s structure, offering warmth and a rich, grainy flavor that anchors the drink.
Maraschino liqueur introduces a subtle sweetness and a hint of cherry flavor, adding a layer of complexity and a slight fruity undertone. This liqueur, derived from the distillation of Marasca cherries, is known for its distinctive taste and aroma, which enhances the cocktail’s depth without overpowering the other components.
Punt e Mes, a vermouth with a bittersweet profile, is a critical ingredient that bridges the rye whiskey and maraschino liqueur. Its name, meaning “point and a half” in Piedmontese, reflects its flavor profile, with the sweetness of the vermouth balanced by a half point of bitterness. This ingredient adds a nuanced complexity, enriching the cocktail with a layered taste experience. Alternatively, sweet vermouth can be used, offering a smoother, less bitter substitute that still complements the rye and maraschino liqueur beautifully.
Before delving further into the Red Hook cocktail, it is essential to understand Punt e Mes, a key ingredient that sets this drink apart. Punt e Mes is an Italian vermouth, characterized by its unique balance of sweetness and bitterness. Created in 1870 by the Carpano family in Turin, Italy, Punt e Mes has a rich history and a distinctive flavor profile that has made it a favorite among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts. It is often enjoyed as an aperitif but has found its place in various cocktails, where its complex flavor can be both a complement and a focal point.
60 ml rye whiskey
15 ml maraschino liqueur
15 ml Punt e Mes, or sweet vermouth
Garnish: maraschino cherry
Add the rye whiskey, Punt e Mes, and maraschino liqueur into a mixing glass.
Add ice and stir for 10-12 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.