Monday, November 23, 2009


1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Dark Rum (Myers)
1/2 oz Port (Ramos Pinto Ruby)
1 dash Angostura Bitters (subbed Bitter Truth Aromatic)
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Last night after going to see Sleep No More, people wanted to go out for a drink. Being late on a Sunday night, we still had a few options and we ended up at Green Street. There, I ordered the Suburban out of their cocktail book since the recipe had caught my eye last time. The Suburban seemed like an oddity -- almost a rye Manhattan using port instead of vermouth except for addition of the rum. The drink's history is tied to horse racing and is named after the Brooklyn Suburban Handicap races during the 1880s. The Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book attributes the impetus of the drink's creation to "the triumphs of James R. Keene and his racing cohorts and other famous stable-owners on near-by courses." The drink gained some more recent fame when David Wondrich wrote about it in Esquire, and some less recent fame when Stan Jones included a variation of it in his Complete Bartender book (the variation has 1 3/4 oz rye and 1/4 oz port as the differences). The drink started with a dark rum aroma which preceded the rather dry and rich drink. I picked up a lot of the rye and port flavors on the foretaste and the rum on the swallow. Also, on the swallow were clove notes from the Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters which were used due to the current Angostura Bitters shortage. Overall, it was a rather stiff drink that would almost make Embury proud. The dual dose of bitters gave the drink some complexity which was lost in using port instead of the sweet vermouth one would expect in the recipe. The rum and port function to smooth out the drink, and while the Suburban was not the most exciting potation to quaff, it was rather strong yet easy to drink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might be interested to know that the Suburban Handicap is still being run, one of the longer running races still under the same name in this country and the third leg of a New York version of the Triple Crown. You might also be amused by the fact that the name of the 2009 winner was Dry Martini.