April 8, 2022

What I’m Drinking: Stambecco and Soda

I should come up with a snazzier name here (at least “The S & S”) but sometimes keeping things simple is lovely, too! And, sometimes, when spring is starting to gently become an actual season, with flowers blooming, and love in the air, all of that goodness, simplicity in drinks is nice – especially when they’re flavorful and refreshing and dolloped with a drop of luck. In this case, my luck (sorry pals!), as I was lucky enough recently to receive a bottle of Stambecco amaro in the post. And what a beautiful bottle it is, I have to stay first off, a real work of dappled design art, from the glass texture to the goats (“Stambecco” is the name of the long-horned mountain goat roaming the Italian alps) to the text curvature to the word “Italy” in glass around the slope from neck to jar. Just lovely!

Of course, it wouldn’t be as lovely if what was contained in said bottle wasn’t tasty – luckily (again, springtime luck!) it is. Stambecco is a member of the amari family, that grouping of Italian digestif-y numbers known for being a bit bitter, but fills a niche all its own. Lighter brown in color than most (with just a hint of red), it also is intriguingly infused with maraschino cherries, along with a host of 30 botanicals including sweet and bitter oranges, coriander, marjoram, oregano, artemista, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, gentian, cinchona, rhubarb, and more, all magically combined (some call this distilling) in Piedmont, north Italy. The mix of botanicals is very friendly, very lower-mountain-field-y, with a light touch on bitter when compared to many of its amaro siblings, with a citrus and stone fruit aroma, and a singular taste where the cherries come even more into play, along with spices and an echo of nuttiness (those maraschino cherries again). Yummy stuff! And a mixture I’m excited to play around with more in cocktails, but sometimes, one wants to keep it simple, as mentioned above. So, here, today, this early April afternoon, I’m just mixing my Stambecco with soda, and topping it off with a Hotel Starlino Maraschino cherry (which also came in the post!), which is a darn delicious specimen of cherry (and one matured in their own juices – avoid those cherries that aren’t!), the ideal topper for this bubbly treat.



Stambecco and Soda


Ice cubes

2 ounces Stambecco amaro

5 ounces chilled club soda

Hotel Starlino Maraschino cherry, for garnish


1. Fill a highball or comparable glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the Stambecco, and dream for a moment of mountain peaks and charming goats.


2. Add the soda. Stir, but not wackily. Garnish with the cherry (if you can avoid just eating it right away, which is tough). Enjoy.

August 8, 2012

What I’m Drinking: The Alexander

If you read this blog much in the last six months (and if you haven’t, where you been pal?), you know I recently taught a cocktail class called Locatails at the swellest spot, the Pantry at Delancey. It was on two nights, a Friday and a Saturday, and all my students were the tops, and the cocktails we made were delicious I believe (all using local spirits, by the way), and fun was had hopefully by each and every person in the room. It was definitely had by me. Actually, I was having so much fun that I nearly forgot (as I tend to in classes—they’re too much fun) to snap any snaps of the drinks. Eh gads. Luckily, two of my students, Sarah and Emily, took some photos, and sent me an awesome one of the Alexander:

If you don’t know, the Alexander is the emperor of sweet drinks, the top dessert drink perhaps ever, and one that too many people have forgotten about. Its gin-chocolate-cream combination isn’t going to be atop too many health food fanatics’ top ten lists, but anyone who loves a smooth, rich, lovely-tasting cocktail will sure adore it. But don’t take my word for it, try the below recipe (which is from Good Spirits), and if you don’t fall in love with the drink, well, I’ll drink it for you.

 Ice cubes 1 ounce gin (I suggest Voyager gin, or another juniper-forward brand)

1 ounce crème de cacao

1 ounce heavy cream

1 strawberry slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, crème de cacao, and cream. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the strawberry slice.

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