Cocktail of the Week: Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

Ice cream floats were fun but after three weeks of experimenting ice cream, soda, and liquor I’m feeling a little bloated. A little heavy. Time to go back to the simple pleasure of cocktails. This week’s is a delicious mix of sweet, bitter, savory, and spicy: Trouble in Paradise.

Trouble in Paradise
The ingredients

Trouble in Paradise

  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • black pepper

Combine one basil spring, bourbon, Campari, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, honey syrup and pepper in shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into rocks glass filled w ice. Granish with remaining basil sprig

Trouble in Paradise

When I saw this cocktail I was naturally apprehensive. Campari is not a liquor with trifle with. While the liquor has hints of cherry and citrus with an edge of spice the predominate taste is bitterness. The liquor is usually served as an aperitif with the herbal bitterness being used to prep the palate for the meal. The black pepper intrigued me though and lemon and grapefruit juice pack plenty of their own punch. So, I went ahead and tried it. I’m glad I did. Between the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and honey syrup there’s plenty to counteract the bitterness of the Campari. The ground pepper? It adds a little kick and texture. This is a complex little cocktail that rewards slow sipping to capture all the subtleties and depths in this one!

Cocktail of the Week: Campari Peach Float

Campari Peach Float

 

Here in northern California we’ve been blessed with a week of days where the temperature has been above 100┬░ F and the nights really haven’t been that cool either. Bicycling to and from work in business attire in this sort of weather is as unpleasant as you imagine it to be. With this kind of weather I’ve been defaulting to simple cold water when it comes to drinks or perhaps a beer. It’s just too hot to enjoy cocktails.

Until, I got this month’s Bon Appetit magazine that had a small section dedicated to floats, that delicious combination of ice cream and soda, that contained tips on turning your float into a boozy float! This concoction, the Campari Peach Float, comes from the magazine but the article inspired me and things kind of got out of hand here as I started mixing liquors, sodas, and ice creams… Turns out its hard to go wrong when you’re mixing these three things!

Campari Peach Float
The ingredients

 Campari Peach Float

  • 3 scoops peach ice cream/frozen yogurt
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • Grapefruit soda
  • Peach or nectarine slices (garnish)

Add three scoops of ice cream into a chilled glass. Fill glass with soda. Pour Campari over drink. Garnish with peach or nectarine slices.

Campari Peach Float

A little slice of heaven! Fruity, sweet peach, sour grapefruit, and the herbal bitterness of the Campari all work together to create a delicious, cool treat. Now I’ve got to get back to figuring out what to mix this strawberry ice cream with… Oh, I know this pineapple vodka and maybe some cream soda…. Hrm…

Campari Peach Float

 

Cocktail of the Week: Americano

Americano Cocktail

I was going to do the Negroni for this week’s cocktail but while researching the history of the drink I cam upon the Americano. I thought an Americano was just watered down espresso, which it is, it’s also though the direct predecessor of the Negroni. While the Negroni is a mixture of gin, campari, and sweet vermouth the Americano uses club soda instead of gin.

Americano Cocktail
The ingredients

Americano

  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • splash of soda water

Pour Campari and vermouth over ice in an old fashioned glass, add a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice.

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The Americano is interesting. It’s not sweet, it’s not sour, it has a little bit of savory. The Campari, an herbal liquor, and it’s flavor profile skews heavily to bitter. This is slightly offset by the sweetness of the vermouth but the drink remains bitter. It does take a while to get used to though. Bitter really isn’t a taste that the American palate appreciates or enjoys. I wonder if the gin in a Negroni helps smooth the edges off the Campari at all?

I’ll find out soon! Next week I’ll try the Negroni!

Cocktail of the Week: The Lucien Gaudin

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Lucian Gaudin was a fencer, at least that is what this wikipedia page says, I like to think the reason a drink is named after him was because he won gold in fencing a couple times at the Olympics and at the time the French were super into fencing. Who knows though?

This cocktail is another request by D, who seems to find all sorts great cocktail recipes without even looking. I didn’t have any Campari on hand but a quick trip to the store rectified that. After sampling the Campari before making the cocktail I was a little worried, because it was really bitter. And, no, I didn’t notice that Campari is a bitter. Nor did I notice the giant calligraphic ‘bitter’ printed on the label. I am a moron. My fears were unnecessary.

The ingredients
The ingredients

The Lucien Gaudin

  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth

Mix all ingredients with ice. Pause, then mix again. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist if you so desire.

2014-05-31 19.25.59This cocktail is a beautiful soft, pink color. I commented to D after making it that it looked like Kool-aid a little. It does not taste anything like Kool-aid or any other sugardrink you might be familiar with. The Campari and Cointreau are a perfect pair with the gin and vermouth adding little hints and subtle variations to the flavor. This is a surprisingly strong drink though. Definitely a drink to sip, and slowly enjoy before dinner.

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