Local Liqueur Edition:
Besides the loopy after effects and mouth-numbing flavors of cocktailing…I have come to appreciate the origins of alcohol and how it got from a plant/grain/fruit straight up into my mouth.
One thing in particular that fascinates me, is that each country, sometimes even as specific as a city, has some original, iconic beverage, liquor, or libation. This weekend highlighted that for me at two specific points.
The first nod to local libation was at the rehearsal dinner of our dear friends Tyler +Jess, my tablemate/avid cocktailer/and friend, Trevor was drinking a Campari on the rocks as an aperitif. Campari originated in Novara, Italy in the 1860’s and the recipe is said to be known to only one person still today, and makes for a delicious cocktail. Aperitif’s are traditionally consumed before the meal…as a way of stirring up the apetite. Just a warning, Campari is a very specific flavor and you’re either gonna love it or hate it…think a very bitter orange with spice.
Here’s a great cocktail using Campari inspired by my friend Trevor:
The Royal Babcock:
1/3 Oz Campari bitters
1 tsp grenadine syrup
6 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Pour over ice and serve. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
The next run-in with a special liquor was at one of my favorite neighborhood spots, Alchemy. The boy and I stopped in a had a drink on our way to dinner and quickly the bartender suggested that Charlie try his signature cocktail, The Consigliari. He likened it to a traditional Dark and Stormy but better due to it containing Amaro Averna. Now, partially due to my love of things that start with a “V” and end with an “odka”, I had never heard of such a spirit. But Charlie went out on a limb and trusted the barkeep, and I think was very happy with the outcome of a spicy, refreshing, and chest burning cocktail to cut the Fall chill.
So being my nosy-ass self, I needed to do some research on Amaro Averna and where the hell this beautiful liquid came from. Turns out, the 1860’s were a time when people wanted to get drunk in more creative ways in Italy, because Amaro Averna was ALSO invented in that time period on the island of Sicily by Salvatore Averna. Amaro is made with a base of herbs, roots, and citrus rinds..eventually being combined with caramel to produce a delightfully sweet, thick, slightly bitter digestif. (Digestifs are typically consumed after the meal to aid in digestion, although we totally drank this pre-dinner)
Here’s the concoction from Alchemy:
1 Part Amaro Averna
1 Part Pinapple Juice
1/2 Tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
1 Part Soda
Combine all and stir over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.