Monday, June 30, 2014

If You Want To Splurge, This Should Be Your Signature Cocktail Of Summer 2014

San Remo cocktail from Scarpetta restaurant
Some of us have reason to drink a little this summer, and I'm exploring cocktails as my dropping alcohol tolerance lets me splurge.

When you're only going to have one drink, then you can splurge a bit on that glass -- especially if you construct it at home.

Our inspiration came from a very special birthday dinner for our niece at Scarpetta in New York City.  I tried their "San Remo" drink.  I thought it was delicious, and Mrs. HowChow was stunned to find a bourbon cocktail that she actually loved.

That's because it's about 10% bourbon.  The brown stuff is in the mix, but Scarpetta's "San Remo" is a bright orange glass with two juices and four liquors.  It's a bracing, refreshing drink.  No harsh alcohol flavor, especially if you follow the HowChow variation.  I think it would be popular with folks who want fancy cocktails and with folks who just want a fruity drink.

To make this happen, we went to Perfect Pour in Elkridge on the way home from New York.  We got good advice and toned down two of chef Scott Conant's liquor choices.  It's still a touch more than $100 for four bottles.  Of course, that's many, many drinks for you to enjoy this summer, and it's a great way to check out both Perfect Pour and the deluxe cocktail craze.

Scarpetta's San Remo
adapted from The Food Network's posted recipe

You can make one drink at a time or measure larger quantities, then shake individual drinks as you want them.  

You'll see that we bought cheaper versions of the elderflower liquor and the bourbon.  The Perfect Pour employee said the difference between St. Elder and St. Germain would be imperceptible in a mixed drink.  I just like Buffalo Trace, and it was less than the Michter's from the restaurant.  You can splurge even more if you want Conant's original.

Also, we doubled the orange juice.  The recipe calls for one ounce of juice.  We both thought the drinks tasted more like the restaurant with about two ounces.

1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth such as Carpano Antica
1 ounce elderflower liqueur like St. Elder (or pricier St. Germain)
1-2 ounces orange juice like the fresh-squeezed stuff from Wegmans
1 ounce bitter orange liqueur like Campari
1/2 ounce bourbon like Buffalo Trace (or pricier Michter's bourbon)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Orange twist for garnish

1) Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2) Shake well, then strain over ice in a rocks glass.  Garnish with the orange twist.

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