This month’s Mixology Monday topic is Amaro…. Bitter Liqueurs. As specified in Chuck’s post on The Gumbo Pages (awesome blog BTW), these do not include your Angostura, Peychaud’s, Fee Brothers, Regan’s, etc. that you add by the dash. These are liqueurs that you would sip from a glass. As I came across the post late in the game, I didn’t have time to run out an buy a bottle of the revered Fernet. Nor did I want to face the ridicule of making a cocktail with Jagermeister. So, I decided to go with what I had in my cabinet–Campari, an Italian Bitter Liqueur.
While Campari may seem tame to most, it is definitely bitter. My first taste of Campari was in the classic drink, the Negroni, which is equal parts of Campari, Sweet or Italian Vermouth, and Gin. My first impression was that it was too bitter for my personal tastes. While I love the fraternally-indulged Jagermeister, it is nothing with the bitterness factor as Campari. I also love Absinthe, which has some bitter properties.
However, I’m not quite ready to give up on Campari or other amari, so I decided to use it in a smaller amount in a cocktail. Originally, I created this cocktail for a cocktail contest, which I fully expect NOT to win or even come close. However, it showed me how Campari and other bitter liqueurs can lend a distinct and complex character to cocktails.
There are a couple of websites that I would like to reference here about Campari. Of course, there are the Campari website at www.campari.com and The Accidental Hedonist at http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/index.php/2005/08/31/history_of_campari .
The later gives a great and detailed history of the liqueur.
Now, for the cocktail.
The Italian Sunset
2 oz Remy Martin VS Cognac
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Bols Apricot Brandy Liqueur
1/4 oz Campari
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Fill Mixing Glass/shaker with ice; add all liquid ingredients, shake until tin frosts
Strain into chilled cocktail glass
Flame orange zest over drink
Rub orange peel around rim of glass and drop into drink
The drink is somewhat sweet, but not overly so. The Campari definitely tames the sweetness. The main taste is of course, fresh oranges. If you want to add a little tartness to it, you could add a little lemon juice.