Did You Know That the Manhattan Isn't the Only Cocktail Named After a Borough?

If you were to ask any non-New Yorker what are the five boroughs of New York City, they probably wouldn't understand the question... why? 

Because most of them believe that Manhattan is the sole borough of NYC, and thus, only recognize the Manhattan as the only NYC cocktail.

But did you, as a New Yorker, know that there are four other cocktails named after Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn? 

While the Manhattan might be the more well known cocktail of the five, that doesn't mean it's the best one.

In honor of National Cocktail Day, we've delved into the history and traditional preparations of NYC's five borough cocktails. 

The Bronx

As Chowhound described, the Bronx cocktail wasn't actually named for the borough itself, but for the Bronx Zoo. The story goes that Johnny Solon visited the Bronx Zoo, saw the "strange beasts" there, and believed that his customers saw similar beasts after one too many drinks. 

Thus, he named this gin-based cocktail after the Bronx. Though it originally was created with sweet and dry vermouth with a splash of orange juice and sometimes some bitters, the orange juice is often omitted today. 


If you're looking to drink the Bronx out, you might need to inform the bartender of the drink (as it's not generally known to new bartenders), but it's made with 2 oz. of gin, 1/2 oz. of dry vermouth, 1/2 oz. of sweet vermouth, and one ounce of fresh orange juice. Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled glass.

The Staten Island

Did you know that the forgotten borough wasn't actually forgotten in terms of cocktails? Sure, it's certainly not as popular, nor as widely accepted, but it's certainly delicious. 

According to Social + Cocktail, in a "tongue-in-cheek" reference to the fact that Staten Island is an actual island, though very far from the tropics, this cocktail has the feel of a caribbean drink. 

So what is the drink? It's half coconut rum, half pineapple juice, shaken with ice and strained into a glass, miniature umbrella optional. 

The Queens

Though this cocktail has been lovingly embraced by the borough (or at least by those who have allocated a cocktail per borough), the Queens cocktail might actually be from an old cocktail recipe book, denoting the "Queen's Cocktail," as in the Queen of England. 

Regardless, it's essentially the Bronx cocktail, but uses pineapple juice instead of orange juice, shake with ice, strain, and serve.

The Brooklyn


The borough and its cocktail have been gaining. According to Punch, the drink first appeared in J.A. Grohusko's Jack's Manual from 1908, the Brooklyn called for a recipe of equal parts rye whiskey and Italian (or sweet) vermouth, with splashes of maraschino liqueur and Amer Picon. 


According to Serious Eats, the modern recipe for the drink consists of 2 ounces of rye or other whiskey, 1 ounce of dry vermouth, 1/4 ounce of maraschino liqueur, 1/4 ounce of Amer Picon OR a few splashes of Angostura or orange bitters. 

The Manhattan

Ahh, the Manhattan... one of the most popular classic drinks named for a borough. However, due to its popularity, its history is contested.

Though one story states that the recipe was created by the Manhattan Club for Lady Randolph Churchill (or Winston Churchill's mother) in 1874, it unlikely, due to the fact that she was pregnant with Winston while in England, rather than partying in NYC. 

According to Liquor.com, it's more likely that the drink was created "by a man named Black who kept a place ten doors below Houston Street on Broadway in the [eighteen-] sixties- probably the most famous drink in the world in its time," according to William F. Mulhall, a bartender in the 1880s. 

Then again, who are we to judge? Whatever the case, the Manhattan is made with 3 ounces of bourbon, 1 and 1/2 ounces of sweet vermouth, and 6 dashes of Angostura Bitters. 

Of course, as one of the most popular drinks in American history, it has a plethora of variations.

Check out 16 Best NYC Rooftop Bars Right Outside of Manhattan. 

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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