Sunday, April 2, 2017

Rite of Spring

Artichoke. The little edible thistle makes a darn good dip or enchilada, but a cocktail? Well, let’s introduce you to Cynar. First, the pronunciation- it’s closest to ‘chee-nar.’ Two, it doesn’t really taste like artichoke. Cynar is made, allegedly, with 13 separate botanicals including artichoke, which has a prominent enough role to be pictured on its bottle. In actuality, the flavor of Cynar is full of upfront clean sweetness, like drinking double-rich simple syrup, which gives way to a green olively vegetal bitterness. This, trust me, sounds grosser than it is.

Cynar is the youngest of the Big Four Italian digestivos marketed commonly in the United States. The others, Campari (bitter orange), Fernet Branca (bittersweet peppermint oil), and Averna (bittersweet caramel and herbs) all had been introduced almost 100 years before Cynar. What the Big Four’s popularity comes from, though, is that they are all great to help digest a huge meal and they mix tremendously well in cocktails. Given the cocktail revival in the early 2000s, the Big Four, including Cynar, started popping up in drink recipes all over. Like Campari, Cynar blends beautifully with gin; together they scream the spring flavors of refreshing juniper, the greenness of newborn herbs and cold sweetwater. To that, we added the floral wine notes of St-Germain and a splash of lime citrus boldness for punch. Chase away the remnants of winter with the recipe below.

Rite of Spring
Holly’s Original Series

1 ½ ounces barrel-aged gin (we used Smooth Ambler)
1 ounce Cynar
½ ounce St-Germain
Dash fresh-squeezed lime juice

Add all ingredients into a stirring vessel with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime twist.

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