Cocktails From Around the World

New York – ‘The Big Apple'
By Charles Montanaro
One of the main vital hubs of culture, art, music and debauchery in the US has and always will be New York City. With its incredible diversity, heritage and influence, New York City has been one of the key influencers in the world of mixology. From the top of my head, I can name at least 10 staple classical cocktails from New York commonly served in bars across the world today.

I handpicked three cocktails which all have different sources of inspiration and proliferation. From the Brooklyn, created to fill a gap for a cocktail named after the area to the Rusty Nail, a drink with many names which rose and fell in fame thanks to a famous Jazz band. Finally, the Penicillin, created by a bartender which could be considered as an essential part of the revival of the modern day cocktail scene thanks to a now world famous cocktail bar: Milk & Honey NYC.

It all began around 1880 with the Manhattan. According to legend it was invented in the Manhattan Club for Winston Churchill's mother for a party she commissioned. From the creation of possibly the most popular cocktail began a rivalry between all five boroughs of New York with the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island Ferry and finally the Brooklyn.

The main issue with reproducing the Brooklyn is one of its ingredients: Amer Picon, an orange based Amaro which originally contained quinine and had a dry nutty oxidised finish which evolved into another product all together when they changed the recipe after the second world war. In order to reproduce the original style of Amer Picon, here we use Bonal and orange bitters to reproduce the bitter orange flavour and a touch of Amontillado sherry to mimic the savoury nuttiness.

To make an original Brooklyn, we combine our Mixture Amer with Rittenhouse 100, a staple spicy delectable rye whiskey with a touch of dry vermouth from Chambery and a dash of maraschino liqueur, resulting in an incredible combination which I too rarely enjoy.

We now travel to the late 1950s with one of the hottest cocktails of the next couple of decades: The Rusty Nail. One of the simplest combinations of ingredients which enchanted an entire city and vanished as quickly as it rose to fame. This cocktail took a while to find its place in the world, first appearing in the form of the BFI (British Industries Fair), it took a generation for it to find its final form and name. From the D&S (Drambuie & Scotch) at Little Club No.1 to the Mig 21 in Vietnam or the Knucklehead in the upper Midwest. It wasn't until the 1960s that the bartenders at the 21 Club in Manhattan finally named the drink the Rusty Nail. It then became one of the most popular cocktails of the era thanks to the chairwoman of the Drambuie company who endorsed the cocktail in the New York Times and the famous Rat Pack who fell in love with the drink boosting its popularity. How to make the Rusty Nail? By simply combining a quality blended whisky, here we use Compass Box Artists Blended for its touch of peat, to Drambuie, a herbal honeyed whisky liqueur and finishing the drink with an expressed lemon peel releasing its essences over this lightly sweet cocktail.

Finally, I'd like to introduce a bar which ignited the modern cocktail scene: Milk & Honey. Founded by Sasha Petraske in the early 2000s, he re-introduced New York City to well-crafted and thought of cocktails. The Penicillin is one of them. Created by Sam Ross, it is a great example of modern mixology. Here, he combined honey offering a smooth mouth feel and a delicate sweetness balanced with the spice of ginger and lemon juice. He added Monkey Shoulder to a dash of Laphroaig to avoid overpowering the cocktail allowing other ingredients to express themselves. Result: a sumptuous cocktail with smooth spicy medicinal qualities.

The Rusty Nail

Rocks glass.

60ml Compass Box Artists Blend
20ml Drambuie

In a mixing glass or tin, combine both ingredients over ice and stir until well chilled. Strain in a rocks glass full of ice and garnish with the lemon peel.

Long lemon peel

The Penicillin

Rocks glass.


  • 45ml Monkey Shoulder

  • 20ml lemon juice

  • 20ml honey syrup

  • 4 slices fresh ginger

  • 5ml Laphroaig 10 Years Old

In a shaker, combine all ingredients except for the Laphroiag and shake with cubed ice. Fine strain in a rocks glass over cubed ice.

Combine one part honey to one part warm water, stir until dissolved, chill before serving.

A few ginger slices.

The Brooklyn



  • 50ml Rittenhouse 100

  • 20ml Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry

  • 12.5ml Amer Mixture

  • 5ml Maraschino Luxardo liqueur

In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients over cubed ice and stir until chilled. Strain in a coupette and garnish with a lemon peel.

Lemon peel.

Amer Mixture

  • 100ml Bonal Gentian Quina

  • 50ml Amontillado sherry

  • 3 dashes orange bitters (Raegans is preferred)