The Bucky Barnes Brooklyn Cocktail is the next instalment of my Marvel Cocktails Series. Bucky’s cocktail is the classic Brooklyn, an old classic that’s made a big comeback. The Brooklyn Cocktail is a delicious blend of rye whiskey, extra dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters, it has a smooth, dry bite that will keep you coming back for more. Just like Bucky, it is less popular than it’s well known counterpart (i.e. Manhattan/Captain America) but it’s just as worth bringing back!
Bucky Barnes, where do I start?! Bucky (aka The Winter Soldier) is probably my all time favourite Marvel character. He’s just a kid from Brooklyn with greatness inside him, a greatness not even he could see, and this is true whether you’re looking at comic Bucky or MCU Bucky. Let’s look at MCU Bucky though, because I love the arc The Russo brothers gave him and how he was depicted. Bucky, a kid from Brooklyn, grew up taking care of his chronically sick best friend who was more like a brother, and while Bucky may have been physically stronger than Steve, Bucky always saw a greatness in Steve and knew he was capable of amazing things.
So when Steve becomes Captain America, of course that is going to create a lot of conflicting feelings for Bucky. Now the world is seeing the greatness Bucky has always seen and nurtured. To paraphrase a really great essay on this subject, to watch your best friend attain greatness while not being able to attain it yourself isn’t easy. And how Bucky handles that reflects the kind of person he is. A classic superhero trope is a person becoming a villain because they are corrupted by the envy of not being able to match that strength and greatness, we’ve seen it a million times before, but it does not corrupt Bucky. Instead, he chooses heroism over villainy and, above all else, he chooses his friendship with Steve (“That little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight, I’m following him”).Bucky has always seen the greatness in Steve, but likewise, Steve saw that greatness in Bucky too. And this is just the tip of the iceberg as to why I love Bucky Barnes and his relationship with Steve Rogers. They save each other, and it is never the super solider serum that does the saving, it is love and their inherent goodness.
That inherent goodness is the main reasons I chose the Brooklyn for Bucky’s cocktail. I have actually been putting off writing this post because I have struggled to put into words why I chose this cocktail and why it is important to me. You see, the thing is Bucky does achieve the strength of Captain America but it is against his consent and he is turned into a weapon. We see what he becomes in The Winter Solider, he is no longer Bucky, or so we think. For 50 years he is a weapon used by Hydra and yet, when he goes up against Steve Rogers, Bucky starts fighting back. That inherent goodness and greatness that Steve always saw in him is stronger than any mind control Hydra could put him under, deep down he will always be Bucky, even if he has to struggle to bring him out each time, he is there.
Does that explain why I chose the Brookyln Cocktail for him? Probably not unless you can get inside my head. But this is a cocktail named for his home borough, a cocktail that came about during the prohibition when Bucky was growing up and finding himself. It’s recently been making a comeback, yet is still not as well known as the Manhattan despite being very similar (and while Steve is also from Brooklyn, I’m using that as a parallel for how under appreciated Bucky is). Usually when I’m making a classic cocktail, I will put my own twist on it, but not this time. Just like Bucky, the Brooklyn Cocktail cannot be changed at it’s heart, this is what it is and while you can change it and twist it, this is what it will always be. Just like Bucky, he can be manipulated, used and abused, but deep down Bucky will always be there, no matter what.
Okay, so by now you probably think that I’ve lost my mind a little bit, making this much of a connection between a comic book character and a classic cocktail. Maybe I am, but just like any other recipe I share with y’all, I am passionate about it. I spent a long time thinking of the perfect cocktail to represent Bucky Barnes, so when I came across the Brooklyn Cocktail it was like a spiritual moment for me! I will be making plenty of other Marvel cocktails, but I can’t imagine I will ever find such a perfect match. I’m willing to try though!
I also lucked out because this Brooklyn Cocktail is totally delicious! It’s become my new favourite cocktail. It is very dry, but this is balanced by the bitter sweetness of the Maraschino liqueur. It is a stirred cocktail that is served chilled and straight up (i.e. no ice). To be a truly traditional Brooklyn Cocktail, you need to use Amer Picon, but this can be very hard to find these days (particularly in the US I hear) and when you do find it, it’s pretty expensive. I used Angostura Aromatic Bitters in place of Amer Picon which worked very well. You really don’t want to stray from Maraschino Liqueur though, no other cherry liqueur has the same bitterness to sweetness ratio that you need for this Brooklyn Cocktail, I use Luxardo. Also worth noting that the liquid you get in a jar of Maraschino Cherries is not the same thing! A jar of maraschino cherries will come in handy though, as this Brooklyn Cocktail needs a cherry garnish and nothing beats a maraschino cherry. If you’re not willing/able to splash out on a jar of authentic maraschino cherries (i.e. not the bright red ones you get, they will not do this cocktail justice, honestly the difference between the two is very big!) then I recommend regular fresh or frozen cherries as a garnish.
Just like Bucky Barnes, this Brooklyn Cocktail has found itself a place in my heart and will forever remain a favourite! I hope you love it as much as I do. I would love to hear your experiences with this Brooklyn Cocktail, whether it’s a long time favourite for you or completely new to you. And, of course, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on Bucky Barnes!
Prep Cook Total Yield 1 The Brooklyn Cocktail for Bucky Barnes in my Marvel cocktail series. A dry cocktail made from rye whiskey, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Served in a martini glass and garnished with cherries Makes one drink
Bucky Barnes Cocktail (The Brooklyn Cocktail)
Double as needed, add 1 extra ice cube for each drink you are making.
The Brooklyn Cocktail for Bucky Barnes in my Marvel cocktail series. A dry cocktail made from rye whiskey, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Served in a martini glass and garnished with cherries
Makes one drink
So there completes my third instalment of the Marvel cocktail series, I hope you like it! Which Marvel character should inspire my next cocktail in the series?