Imbibing Mr. Boston: Brooklyn Wanderer Cocktail

IMG_7832Looking at the list of ingredients that make up this cocktail, you’ll either have to bite the bullet and spend well over $100 on spirits which aren’t always easy to find, or happen to work at a well-stocked bar yourself.  Luckily, I happen to be the head bartender at the Good Spirits Tiki Bar here in Syracuse.  My dilemma was choosing which styles of genever, allspice liqueur and mezcal to use.  I opted for Bols genever, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and Ilegal mezcal.  The two syrups are from Hale Pele owner B.G. Reynolds‘ line of mixers.

Here’s some thoughts on the drink from its creator Hal Wolin, and also from the man who inspired the drink, Frank Cisneros.

“The Brooklyn Wanderer was named to reference Frank Cisneros who at the time was the NY Bols Genever Ambassador and I’d often see him wandering(or floating) back and forth between different parts of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens and also parts of NYC within the same day. I remember him being a fan of Tiki so the Brooklyn Wanderer was my homage to his time with Bols Genever and his appreciation of Tiki cocktails. “Hal Wolin

Hal did two great things there. First for some reason Bols Genever really works well with pineapple. I don’t know the science behind it I just know my mouth likes it. Another great example of that phenomenon is Thomas Waugh’s Holland Tunnel. The other great thing Hal did is appropriate Tiki stylings to maximum effect. If Don the Beachcomber were around to witness the resurgence of Bols Genever he would be doing nearly the same exact thing.Frank Cisneros

My thoughts: very cinnamon forward on the nose and on the palate, but the genever shines here.  This is an interesting drink that should be served over crushed ice (I followed the recipe in the guide, but I disagree) and swizzled.  Despite the plethora of ingredients, everything is well-balanced and it’s not a drink that is alcohol heavy.  I like it.  Cheers, Hal & Frank!

Brooklyn Wanderer
2oz genever
0.5oz allspice liqueur
0.5oz mezcal
0.5oz pineapple juice
0.5oz orgeat syrup
0.5oz lime juice
0.5oz cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: Fresh mint leaf

Shake without ice. Strain into ice-filled pilsner glass.  Swizzle with barspoon.  Garnish with mint.

GSN Review: Bols Genever

The House of Bols is one of the world’s oldest distilleries, with products going back to 1575.  The version of Genever that Bols produces today is based on a recipe from 1820.  So, why is it only now becoming popular in the U.S.?  Partially because London Dry style gin became the predominant style of botanically infused spirits during the latter part of the 19th century, but also because of the Noble Experiment which began in 1919 and ended in 1933.  Some classic Genever based cocktails including the Collins and the Holland House fell by the wayside and were eventually made with London Dry or Plymouth gins by the time prohibition ended in 1933.

Enough of the history lesson.  The nose is similar to a gin, but less herbal and with a slightly vanilla quality.  The flavor has less juniper and more of a malty sweetness similar to White Dog (or unaged whiskey).  The recipe that Bols uses starts with a smooth, excellent distillate which leaves your mouth with a lanolin creaminess.  Along with this, there is a discernible tropical fruit quality along with slight minty freshness.  This works amazingly well straight at 84 proof, but is also phenomenal as a base spirit in cocktails.  The subtle flavors get lost when used with tonic or orange juice, but it works hand in glove with  fortified wine products like Lillet Blanc or Dolin Dry.  GSN suggests using this for an interesting variation in a classic Ensslin Aviation.  Give it a try!  GSN Rating: A-

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