We have a thing for cocktails with complexity: we like more than a touch of bitterness, with a little sweet, a little sour, a little fizz to keep us interested all the way to the last drop. If you like that sort of drink, here is one you will love. It's a cocktail for grownups, and it'll carry you all the way through the fall and holiday season.
Last summer my husband and I took a vacation to Vancouver, BC, and while we were there we ate at Cibo Trattoria, an amazingly good Italian restaurant. We also had drinks next door at its sister establishment, Uva. The two share a bar and an accomplished mixologist named Christopher Flett. The Bittercup is one of Christopher's signature drinks, and he mixed it up for us while we were there. We loved it so much that I wrote to him, begging for the recipe. Christopher very kindly obliged, so here it is!
This cocktail is both celebratory and grown-up. Christopher calls it a cocktail in the style and tradition of great Italian aperitifs; herbaceous, slightly bitter, and stimulating to the appetite.
We find it slightly fizzy, just playful enough for a night on the town. But it's also serious: with a dash of bitterness from the Campari and something indescribable from the Fernet Branca. The blend of juices gives it tang and just enough sweetness. This is just the sort of well-balanced cocktail we love.
It's also a special-occasion cocktail; we don't always keep these juices (or the Prosecco!) around. Next week we'll share a classic cocktail that we also happened to learn from Christopher — one that gives a similar grown-up flavor, but with more workaday ingredients.
But for now, here's the Bittercup: Cheers!
makes 1 drink
1 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce Bremner's cranberry juice (or any real cranberry juice, not cranberry cocktail)
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
1/4-1/2 ounce simple syrup (1 to 1 ratio)
2 ounces prosecco
Shake everything except the prosecco with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finish with prosecco.
From Christopher Flett of Uva Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria
(Images: Faith Durand)