Critics' pick

Photograph: Jeff Gurwin

Not so old-fashioned Modernizing a cocktail dubbed the old-fashioned seems somewhat absurd. Why mess with the aromatic perfection of bourbon, bruised fruit and bitters? Because it’s possible to teach an old drink something new. At Brooklyn Social Club (335 Smith St between Carroll and President Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-858-7758), a hip bar carved from a Sicilian men’s hangout, the door reads non-members welcome, and co-owner Matt Dawson’s libations also tastefully subvert tradition. Belly up to the dark-oak bar and order his Matt’s Ginger Old-Fashioned. Barkeeps clad in aprons, ties and button-down shirts will muddle maraschino cherries, orange wedges, simple syrup, bitters and a cube of raw ginger before adding a hearty measure of Jim Beam and tiles of ice. The shaken result is ambrosial: It’s faintly sweet but strong as an ox, a stomach-warming zinger with nuanced layers of zest, fruit and liquor unfolding with every sip. Want another? Go ahead. Brooklyn’s Social’s old-fashioned may be newfangled, but the $8 price is a throwback.

Joshua M. Bernstein

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