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Cocktail History Lesson


The final lesson from John Gertsen, bar manager of Drink in Boston, was about the evolution of the cocktail. I learned that part of the beauty of a cocktail is its history, its roots. Just like a great recipe, a great cocktail can often be traced back to a classic. Case in point: Drink’s signature, the Fort Point.

Five years ago, when Gertsen was living in New York, he ordered a classic Manhattan at the venerable cocktail den Milk & Honey, then requested a second drink. "I didn't want another Manhattan, so I asked for something similar, and the bartender just nailed my flavor profile," says Gertsen. The natural choice was a Brooklyn, a variation of the Manhattan. But the cocktail craftsman behind the bar, Enzo Enrico, put a spin on the Brooklyn, creating the Red Hook, in honor of the South Brooklyn neighborhood.
This modern Brooklyn variant has spawned several interesting neighborhood-inspired derivations, including the the Chartreuse-spiked Greenpoint, the Slope, the Bensonhurst and Death & Co.’s  Cobble Hill.

Gertsen looked to these drinks as inspiration for his Fort Point, named after Boston’s warehouse district turned up-and-coming arts 'hood.

The Fort Point

Serves 1

2 ounces Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 ounce Punt e Mes
1/4 ounce Benedictine

Pour all ingredients over hand-cracked ice in a chilled glass pitcher. Stir thoroughly but gently, being careful not to incorporate too much air into the liquid. Pour slowly into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Serve with a Benedictine flavored cherry on the side.

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