Cynar is the flavor of the week… so this time around, I decided to try something a bit out of the ordinary for my digestif. After discovering that Cynar and gin make a good combination, I figured it would be good to build on this herbal bitter profile with some more abrupt bitter flavors.
The first ingredient added to the Cynar-gin combo was Angostura, but after a quick stir and a bar spoonful taste, I wasn’t quite satisfied. The flavors were too distant and I needed something to bring them all together. In this case, I leaned on lemon to mesh the flavors and add some bright citrusy sweet & sour profile to this heavy bitters cocktail. It almost got there, but it was missing something.
Note: I’ll forewarn you that bitters and lemon combinations can leave a ‘not so pleasant’ aftertaste in a cocktail, so be quite careful with playing around with these ingredients. It’s important to add a vermouth or slightly sweet liquor to balance out this overly sour, bitter flavor or else you end up with a for lack of a bitter description ‘putrid’ aftertaste.
In the case of this particular cocktail, Cocchi Americano was most certainly not the correct choice… hence the cocktail’s title America-no. My gut said to choose dry vermouth, but I saw the Cocchi in the fridge and went for it. Heck, some of the best things in food and science were discovered on accident, right? Cocchi is a quinine based wine which actually ended up adding even more of that bitter aftertaste, so it didn’t exactly accomplish what I’d hoped it would. What I envisioned for the cocktail was similar to the Martinez, which contains an herbal heavy gin, vermouth, bitters and a dash of maraschino to round it out. The Martinez goes a bit heavier on the sweet vermouth though, so maybe a Negroni is a better comparison.
Stir over ice and strain into a martini glass. Enjoy!