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

 

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.

February 8, 2019

What I’m Drinking: The Mojito with a Rainbow Unicorn Straw

Sure, you’ve had Mojitos (I hope, and if not, you know, it’s a minty-rum-y delight of course so where have you been, dear)? In the summer, when they are one of the ruling drink class. Or in the spring, when you’re pretending it’s summer in your short shorts, even though you’re chilly. I see you. And even in the fall once, when you were thinking about Cuba. I sorta like them also in the winter, to deliver a summer dreamtime as the cold air nips noses. You may like that, too. But have you ever had a Mojito with a rainbow unicorn straw? I did, recently, and let me assure you – it’s better. The Mojito? Great drink. With a unicorn rainbow straw? Better. Maybe it’s this way with any drink? Here, though, trust me. Good times, with rum, and unicorn. Run with that, my brave and wonderful friends.

mojito-unicornThe Mojito

7 or 8 mint leaves
2 of more lime wedges
1 ounce simple syrup
Crushed or cracked ice
2-1/2 white rum
Club soda
Mint sprig, for garnish

1. Add the mind, lime wedges, and simple to a highball or comparable glass. Muddle well with a cool muddler.

2. Fill the glass most of the way with cracked or crushed ice. Add the rum, then nearly to the top with soda.

3. Smack the mint a bit to get the oils flowing, then let it float atop the drink. And don’t forget to add your unicorn straw!

April 29, 2016

What I’m Drinking: The Hour Glass

It may have been eight years since I’ve sipped this particular refresher – that’s a long time and a long number of drinks. But we’ve had a bit of northwest spring heat wave lately, demanding that something effervescent like this be unveiled, and I was reading Justice Society (okay, I’m making an Hour Glass to Hour Man leap, but you get me, I know), and, well, one thing led to another. It’s a good drink, too, interesting without being affrontive. If you feel badly about Cognac-ing here, then I’d say don’t be so darn stuffy. Haha, but seriously folks, feel free to sub in a nice brandy as you will. Whatever doesn’t overheat you, friend, and whatever makes the hours pass in a lovely manner.

hour-glass
The Hour Glass

Cracked ice
1 ounce Cognac
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce absinthe
Ice cubes
Chilled club soda
Lemon twist, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Cognac, Cointreau, and absinthe. Stir well.

2. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture over the ice, and then fill the glass with club soda (unless it’s a large-ish highball, then just go up three-quarters of the way).

3. Squeeze the lemon twist over the glass and drop it in.

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