A while back, I wrote a piece about classic drinks using bitters along with some updated recipes. (Read it here
.) A few of you wrote and asked for more. As usual, I'm there for you.
Averna, the Italian amaro (a sweeter version of traditional bitters), I wrote about, held a nationwide search for the best cocktail recipe using their liquor. The five winners will head to Sicily in September to see whose is the best. In the meantime, just so you can invite a few people (read: "women") over and hold your own competition, those five winning recipes are below. They're a little complex, but I think you can handle it. Saulte!
San Francisco Winners:
Jeffrey Hollinger, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
Midnight In Sicily
1 1/2 oz Amaro Averna
1 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz "Sicilian Style" Blood Orange agrodolce (sweet and sour sauce)
5 to 6 mint leaves
Flamed blood orange rind, for garnish
Combine ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake for 20 to 30 seconds, or until well chilled. Double strain through a fine meshed strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with the flamed blood orange rind.
Thomas R. Waugh, Alembic Bar
Hierba Buena Cocktail
1 1/4 oz Averna
1 1/4 Don Julio Reposado Tequila
1/4 oz White Creme de Cacao
1 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
3 dashes Fees Mint Bitters
First, to make the bitter mint cream: add mint bitters and heavy cream to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (no ice) for 30 secs. Set aside. Then stir Averna, Tequila, and Cacao in a mixing glass full of ice for 45 secs. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Using a bar spoon, carefully layer the cream on top of the cocktail. Garnish with shaved chocolate and fresh mint sprig.
New York Winners:
Don Lee, PDT
La Cola Nostra
1 1/2 oz Zacapa 23
1 oz Averna
3/4 oz Lime
1/2 oz Simple syrup
1/4 oz Pimento Dram
2 oz Champagne (Moet White Star)
Shake all but champagne and strain into long glass with ice. Top with champagne.
Damon Dyer, Death & Company
Tuesdays with Mole
2 oz Goslings Black Seal
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Demerara
Shake, strain into coupe, float 5 drops Xocolatl Mole Bitters.
Debbi Peek (pictured), The Drawing Room at Le Passage in Chicago
1 1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Plymouth gin
1 oz Mineola citrus juice
1/2 oz orange juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
5 fresh raspberries
3 fresh blackberries
In a Boston shaker add berries and fresh citrus. Muddle. Add Averna and gin. Shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled 8 oz cocktail glass.
Garnish: Using a wooden pick horizontally, place 2 citrus leaves vertically through the pick, then in a fan shape add thin slices of half moon lime wheels and then a raspberry. On the lime slices, add the peel of the Minneola on top on the outside of the lime. Place on the edge of a cocktail glass.