When at a bar, I make it habit try the unusual cocktail, ask the bar tender the cocktail question du jour (what IS the difference between yellow and green chartreuse?), and always leave with a recommendation for something new. This curiosity is the likely root cause for the entire Build a Better Bar Cart series and my ever expanding repertoire of cocktails.
So imagine my excitement when I recently found myself seated next to a sommelier during a wine tasting. Fine wine, excellent conversation, and a captive audience. Mr. Brendan Draper, sommelier at Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis, clued me in to the rise of the Amaro, an Italian digestif and the featured ingredient in the recipe he graciously supplied.
Amaro (Italian for bitter) comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavor profiles. It is often bitter, can be slightly sweet, and clocks in with a moderate alcohol content. Brendan recommends using Averna for this cocktail, a medium style Amaro, that wont overpower a cocktail like the stronger varietals (such as Fernet).
Fair warning, the Schoharie Mapple Jack (a maple syrup infused apple brandy) turned out to be a little harder to track down, so I substituted Green Mountain Organic Maple Liqueur, sourced from Bin Ends locally, to equally tasty results. I also finally just tracked down Luxardo cherries.....worth their weight in maraschino gold, but was able to create a version of my own by soaking dried cherries in Luxardo for a few hours.
The final result? A complex cocktail that was equal parts bitter, sweet, and maple, hitting all taste buds with equal delight.
PS- I received my first bottle of Amaro as a house warming gift and I am going to replicate this idea, giving bottles away myself as host/hostess gifts this holiday season.
• 1 ½ oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
• 1 ½ oz. Schoharie Mapple Jack
• ¾ oz. Averna Amaro
• 2 Dashes of Reagans Orange Bitters
Build in shaker and stir. Strain into Lowball and serve down over Luxardo cherries.
Recipe courtesy of Brendan Draper, Bar Manager & Sommelier, Pain D'Avignon.
Check out other posts in the Build a Better Bar Cart Series: