The Bronx, or Da Bronx, is a gin-based drink that combines both sweet and dry vermouth and is enlivened by a splash of orange juice. In the 1930s, such a demand for the Bronx Cocktail existed at New York’s Brass Rail in the Waldorf that the bar, under the tutelage of Johnny Solon, went through cases of oranges a day. The cocktail is named not for the much-maligned New York City borough but for the Bronx Zoo. One story has it that Solon visited the zoo and saw many strange beasts. Thinking that a number of his customers also saw bizarre beasties after too many drinks, he christened this cocktail the Bronx. As one might expect, Brooklyn got into the act with a cocktail of its own.
Bartenders who take pride in their mixology have tried to keep the Bronx alive, but it is mostly foreign to the new generation of barkeeps. This is a drink that can easily be made at home. If it is raining and wet, relax and order a Dry Bronx.
Some bartenders prefer to omit the orange juice. Our advice is to retain the OJ and get your vitamin C while preserving tradition. To avoid those many strange beasts that Mr. Solon referred to, keep your intake to no more than three. For a Sweet Bronx or a Dry Bronx, use only one kind of vermouth. If you replace the vermouth with a dash of bitters, the cocktail becomes an Abbey.
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