Frontier Psychiatrist

The 10 Best Bodies in Brooklyn: 2011

Posted on: December 29, 2011

Specifically: dead bodies.  What, you were expecting something else?

If you live in New York City and you have not yet visited Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so.  A mixture of bucolic beauty, historical interest, and general anachronistic oddity, the grounds were first laid out in 1838 and it remains an active cemetery.  Green-Wood has served as the inspiration for countless public green spaces, including Central Park, and was, at one time, one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the nation, along with Niagara Falls.

In the spirit of year-end list making, here are the top ten permanent residents of Green-Wood, each with a cocktail to their name.  To render this exercise more timely, each cocktail is taken from The PDT Cocktail Guide.  This book is the game changer for 2011.  Jim Meehan serves up every recipe for every cocktail served at his famous East Village cocktail den, including both classics from a variety of sources and all of PDT’s homegrown creations (a Benton’s Old-Fashioned anyone?).

10. Henry Ward Beecher (1813–1887); abolitionist


2 oz. Beefeater 24 gin

½ oz. pear liqueur

1 barspoon Chartreuse

1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Although never elected, this Brooklyn clergyman was a social activist for all manner of progressive causes during the mid-19th Century.  But, like a true politician, he was laid low by a scandal involving adultery with a friend’s wife.

9. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960–1988); artist

Lower East Side Globetrotter

1¼ oz. rye whiskey

¾ oz. cognac

¾ oz. Benedictine

½ Clement Creole Shrubb or orange liqueur

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

It is odd to find the grave of the world-famous graffiti artist among the stately mausoleums of Old Knickerbockers.  A classically-inspired cocktail seems oddly appropriate.

8. Charles Ebbets (1859–1925); owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, built Ebbets Field

Old Pal

2 oz. rye whiskey

¾ oz. dry vermouth

¾ oz. Campari

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

An old-school Brooklyn guy, he kept the Dodgers from moving to Baltimore in 1905. His ghost was unable to keep them away from LA, though.

7. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933); artist


1 oz. dry gin

1 oz. sweet vermouth

1 oz. Chartreuse

1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Known for his stained glass, Mr. Tiffany would appreciate this jewel of a drink.

6. DeWitt Clinton (1769–1828); unsuccessful U.S. presidential candidate 1812, U.S. Senator from New York, seventh and ninth Governor of New York

Smokey Grove

2 oz. Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, use a peaty one

½ oz. sweet vermouth

½ oz. dry vermouth

dash of Angostura bitters

dash of orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Clinton’s grave is set apart in the Cemetery, and topped by a statue erected by the Freemasons, of whom he was one.  There is something decidedly Masonic about the image of a smoky grove, a place where keepers of ancient secrets can clandestinely congregate.

5. Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990); composer, conductor


2 oz. dry gin

¼ oz. Amaro Ciociaro

¼ oz. apricot liqueur

1 oz. sparkling white wine

Stir all but wine with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with wine.

The masterful conductor and hero of Lincoln Center deserves a tipple named for a favorite bel canto composer.

4. Joey Gallo (1929–1972); mobster

Left Hand

1½  oz. bourbon

¾ oz. sweet vermouth

¾ oz. Campari

2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A Mobster extraordinaire and son of a Red Hook bootlegger, Crazy Joey would appreciate a drink combining distinctively Italian ingredients with an all-American base.

3. William “Bill The Butcher” Poole (1821–1855); a member of the Bowery Boys gang and the Know Nothing political party, also a bare-knuckle boxer


2 oz. rye whiskey

1 oz. lemon juice

¾ oz. simple syrup

1 egg white

Dry-shake hard, i.e. without ice, then shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe.

While the 2002 movie Gangs of New York has its flaws, Daniel Day Lewis’s performance as the venomous Butcher more than makes up for them.  The closing scene invokes Green-Wood, although Bill’s actual grave was unmarked until 2004.

2. Samuel F.B. Morse (1791–1872); invented Morse code, language of the telegraph


2 oz. bourbon

¼ oz. simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

orange slice

3 brandied cherries

2 oz. Southampton Double White Ale

Muddle the orange and cherries with the simple syrup, add the bourbon, bitters, and ice, shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with the beer.

A toast to the man behind the start of the information age, which led to all manner of modern contraptions.

1. William Magear “Boss” Tweed (1823–1878); notorious New York political boss, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and New York State Senate

Ward Eight

2 oz. rye whiskey

½ oz. lemon juice

½ oz. orange juice

¼ oz. simple syrup

1 barspoon of pomegranate molasses (available at Middle Eastern stores)

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Although created in Boston, not Tweed’s New York, the Ward Eight’s history traces back to the victorious backroom machinations of a 19th century political machine.

Drink up,


1 Response to "The 10 Best Bodies in Brooklyn: 2011"

This is so cool! I was up at Woodlawn in The Bronx last week checking out Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. I’ll toast street art with a Globetrotter on New Year’s Eve.

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