Friday, January 24, 2014

Vertigo Cocktail

I've begun exploring amaro's lately. These are a family of Italian digestifs, most of which have been made for at least 150 years or so. Their original purpose was for sipping after dinner to settle the stomach. The mid to late 1800's seems like it was a popular time to create an amaro brand for some reason. They vary by brand but are all blends of different herbs, roots and seeds. Most have some serious bitterness to them and a sweetener to balance it out. Anyway, modern bartenders have been experimenting with them in lots of cocktails. They are often substituted for some or all of the vermouth in a recipe to add a different herbal profile.

averna amaro mixed drinkThis vertigo drink is just a simple highball not a complex mixological creation but it is delicious. I generally love anything with ginger beer and Im always interested in learning there are more variations on a ginger beer highball. All the recipes Ive found on the internet attribute this recipe to Duggan McDonnell, with some recipes calling for floating the averna and others calling for lots of garnish. The averna is heavy and syrup and as such doesn't float well. So even if you float it, it doesn't last very long and I say its unnecessary. Some call for more citrus garnish than others but I think that depends on the ginger beer brand you employ. Reed's extra ginger brew is quite spicy but really sweet and citrusy too. If I used Fentiman's, I could see using a few citrus wheels


1/2 oz lemon juice
3-4 oz ginger beer
2 oz Averna
lime wedge for garnish

Stir in a highball with ice. Add garnish.

The bitterness of the Averna is really well balanced by the citrus and sweet ginger flavors. I think this is a really good drink to serve with some spicy food. It is lower in alcohol than most cocktails so try a few with your next stir fry!

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