Looking for John Cheever short stories yesterday, followed by finding John O'Hara in all sorts of places reminded me of how much I enjoyed Damon Runyon's 'On Broadway' (it's up there with Anita Loos' Gentleman Prefer Blondes' and the works of Gypsy Rose Lee and Mae West - all of which want seeking out and reading).
'On Broadway' is a collection of loosely connected short stories full of dudes and dolls, bootleggers and speakeasies. It's funny, surprising, and even after 500+ pages I wanted more. It's definitely a book that makes you want to drink a cocktail, and probably something really authentically prohibition era - a Bees Knees, or a Mary Pickford maybe, definitely something that involves rum would be good...
The Bronx is actually a pre prohibition cocktail, but the orange juice gives it the fruity edge I'm looking for. For a prohibition era feel I'd make it with a sweeter Vermouth (to disguise the roughness of bootleg gin). The basic recipe is equal quantities of fresh orange juice, gin, and vermouth. For a dry Bronx use dry vermouth, or for a 'perfect' Bronx mix a dry and sweet vermouth together. Combine everything in a shaker with lots of ice, shake well, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist if you like.
This is a great drink to play around with vermouth's in - how dry, or sweet, you prefer it might come as a surprise. My instinct after 20 years in the wine trade is to always go dry (there's undoubtedly a bit of snobbery about this, as well as a learnt but genuine appreciation of drier drinks), but I've found with Martini style drinks that I prefer all sorts of things I'd never have expected - like Gin & It's and red Vermouth generally.