The Vanderbilt is the second cocktail star in the constellation on Vanderbilt Avenue between Bergen and Dean (the other, Weather Up). Unlike its neighbor, the Vanderbilt has a full menu in addition to cocktails, and it's worth a visit for that alone. Chef Saul Bolton has earned a Michelin star at his namesake Saul, and he brings his talent into the Vanderbilt's kitchen.
But you should visit the Vanderbilt even if you aren't eating. Grab a seat at the lively front bar and select a cocktail from the list or let the bartenders create one to your specs. Floyd, who runs the bar, is from Mississippi and proud of it. Many of the cocktails carry monikers with nods to his homeland, like the Tupelo Julep, a mix of rye whiskey, congac, and apricot mint syrup. The Whiskey Skiffer is named after a creek that used to run near Floyd's house. He describes it as "a simple cocktail, right smack dab between a Manhattan and a Negroni." It's got the elegance of an Old Fashioned but the bitters and Cynar, a bitter Italian amaro made with herbs, botanicals, and artichokes, temper the sweetness of the vermouth and lend additional depth and character.
When you order the cocktail at the Vanderbilt, it will contain a dash of A.B. Smeby Bitter Co.'s Mole-Amarillo bitters, but if you're making it at home, you'll have to use a substitute, as they currently aren't available in stores or online. Floyd recommends the Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters or a bitters with an earthy quality.
The Whiskey Skiffer
Equal parts of: Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey Cynar Dolin Sweet Vermouth
a dash of A.B. Smeby Bitter Co.'s 'Mole-Amarillo' bitters (or Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters)
Build the drink in a rocks glass and stir. Garnish with a slice of orange peel.
570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11238 (map) 718-623-0570