Showing posts with label apertif. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apertif. Show all posts

Friday, June 25, 2010

Buvare: Il Gentiluomo

On the eve of a friend's classic cocktail party, I thought I'd post this little concoction inspired by some recent visits to cocktail hot spots The Tarpit and District. So far my predictions about Amari haven't been far off, herbal liqueurs such as Averna, Torani Amer, and Cynar have been steadily rising to the top of the cocktails lists at many of my favorite joints. A pleasant night at home led to this Hoskins Cocktail kith bitter-orange-driven Italian Gentleman...

Il Gentiluomo

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce Torani Amer
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce Tuaca
1 dash orange bitters

Fill a mixing glass with ice and add ingredients.
Stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Cin cin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Buvare: Amer Picon

Cocktail trends can circulate quicker than a swizzle stick, but my bet for this summer's boom is on Amari. Once relegated to a full bar's highest hard-to-reach shelf, those dusty bottles (with the most beautiful labels) held the secret to modern mixology - one of the key elements to a perfect cocktail - the bitter.
Nowadays these Italian herbal digestifs are within the barman's reach, and prominently featured in many neoclassic cocktails. One I had never heard of that the good Chuck Taggart at Gumbo Pages got me in a tizzy to try is Amer Picon. Originally a French apertif based on bitter oranges, gentian and cinchona, it has over the years evolved through the hands of the Italians and also the Euskadi, who revere it.
Of course actually finding a bottle of Amer Picon is now near impossible in the States, but interestingly enough the Torani brand (yes, of the syrups) has taken up producing a rather faithful similar tasting, same proof, and more common knockoff. And Silverlake Wine sells it now - for 12 bucks a bottle!

Here's the traditional Amer Picon cocktail preparation via The Gumbo Pages (which essentially is an easy recipe to find, it's right on the bottle's front label!)

PICON PUNCH
"The National Drink of the Basques"

2 ounces Amer Picon (substitute Amer Boudreau or Torani Amer)
2 barspoons (1 teaspoon) of grenadine
Soda water
Lemon peel
1/2 to 1 ounce brandy (optional)

To do it Italian-style, coat the inside of a tumbler with grenadine. Add the Amer and ice, top with about 4 ounces soda and stir. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and garnish. If you feel the cockles of your heart need further warming, float a tablespoon or two of brandy on top.

Also, thanks to Tasting Table LA for bringing my attention to the Roger Room's Pecan Millionaire cocktail--a classy update combining Torani Amer with pomegranate syrup, vodka and Punt e Mes vermouth (get the recipe here).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Buvare: Lillet Blanc


On warm summer nights dining al fresco or hosting sunset drinks, I turn to one of the most mysterious and alluring liquers I've had in my day (as well as one of my favorite to date) - the lush and indulgent Lillet Blanc. A French wine-based apertif produced in Bordeaux since 1872, its 17% alchohol rating often lends it comparisons to Vermouth. On the tongue it is complexly floral and citrusy, with a honeyed texture, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Lillet is so elegantly balanced though that it can be enjoyed all on its own, over ice with a splash of soda and an orange slice, but also pairs nicely with gin and vodka. I take mine straight on the rocks with a clementine wheel. Lillet can sometimes be a challenge to find, but most high-end liquor stores and wine merchants carry it in the apertif section, I have also seen it on the curated rack at Gelson's. Pinkies up, breathe the aromatic nose, sip and enjoy.