The Bronx Cocktail

Jul 11, 2017

We leave for New Orleans in less than a week, but though I have a ton to do I have no energy to any of it šŸ™

It’s been rather humid out here in Las Vegas which I suppose is good training for the weather down in Louisiana this time of year. Man! The warm, sticky really drains you – at least it drains me šŸ™‚ Speaking of warm, sticky weather; I hear that the Bronx has some scorching summers… I bring the Bronx up because the next six Mr. Boston’s recipes are named this famous New York borough. Seems this hot humidity is oddly appropriate.

I had originally planned on trying out all six Bronx recipes in one night but that is aĀ lot of booze, even for us. Plus, I’ve already decided on the drinks we’ll be trying out in NOLA so I don’t want to deviate from that too much.

The Bronx Cocktail is the first in the line up.

Hailed as a “Perfect Martini” with orange juice added, the Bronx was ranked number three of the top 10 most famous cocktails in 1934. The drinks popularity could be the reason Leo Cotton gave it some up love when he published the firstĀ edition of Mr. Boston’s in 1935.

Seems there are conflicting stories on how and when the Bronx Cocktail came to be. Some claim it was discovered in Philadelphia around 1905, others attribute the drink to a “pre-prohibition bartender at the Manhattan hotel” by the name of Johnnie Solan.

Of the old cocktail books I’ve been referring to throughout this journey, Jacques Straub’s 1914 book had a recipe identical to the 1935 Mr. Boston’s version. My search for knowledge about this particular refreshment lead me to discover a brand new vintage cocktail manual from 1908. Lo and behold, this turn of the century publication had its own take on the Bronx which the author, Hon. WM (Cocktail) Boothby, attributes to “Billy Malloy” from Pittsburg, PA.

The World's Drinks and How to Mix Them 1908 Cover

Seems like Mr. Boothby fancied himself quite the Mixologist. He even gave himself the middle name “Cocktail” One thing I really like about Hon’s book is that he credits several of the recipes with their “original” author. I think that’s a cool way go about preserving the drinks history.

While Leo Cotton’s Bronx is Gin forward with equal parts Italian and French Vermouth’s and the juice of a 1/4 of an orange; Mr. Boothby published the following:

  • 1/3 Plymouth Gin (1/2 ounce)
  • 1/3 French Vermouth
  • 1/3 Italian Vermouth
  • 2 Dashes of Orange Bitters (approximately 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 Barspoonful of Orange Juice (1 teaspoon)
  • Serve with a squeeze of orange peel, very cold

Given that the recipes are fairly similar, I decided to try the older combinationĀ over Mr. Boston’s version.

By the time we got home this evening, I was too tired to stop at the grocery for an orange. I decided to cut corners and use orange juice concentrate. I know, it’s not the same but desperate times call for desperate measures!

We’ve almost killed the 1 liter bottle of Antica Formula Vermouth but I was able to eek out the 1/2 ounce I needed for the recipe. After the Brazil Cocktail mess a couple nights ago, I feared that the Dolin’s Dry Vermouth would be overtly strong and take over. Thankfully, this time my fears were all for not.

For the sake of the photo, I omitted ice opting instead to gently swirl the ingredients together and pour them straight into my trusty 3 ounce cocktail glass. The resulting cocktail is very nice but as suggested by Mr. Boothby, chilling it made all the difference.

The Bronx Cocktail is heavy on the citrus which can be a little overwhelming before icing the drink down. Not only does the dilution help tame theĀ acidity, it helped develop the Italian Vermouth and Gin. As a result the botanical notes became much more pronounced.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the Bronx as I type away from the comfort of my couch. Not a bad way to kick up your feet and unwind from a hot, sticky afternoon. I approve!