I came across this drink on Pinterest. It is a beautiful cocktail. When you sip it, the first thing you note is the aroma of the oil from the rosemary, followed by the richness of the foam. The flavor is slightly bitter orange with the rosemary enhancing the herbal tones of the Campari and Aperol. It was created by Balena‘s lead mixologist Natalia Cardenas. I have altered it only slightly. I include it here because it is a perfect example of two things:
- The use of fresh herbs in cocktails
- Combining two similar spirits, in this case Campari and Aperol
Fresh herbs are an excellent way to underscore flavors in liqueurs and liquors. For instance, thyme goes very well in drinks containing Chartreuse or Aperol. When constructing a drink in which I’m considering fresh herbs, I will first make up the drink without herbs or garnish. Tasting at this point enables me to pick out flavors that I want to accentuate, (See note below). I can then crush the herb in my fingers and sip the drink from a shot glass. If the aroma of the herb goes with the drink, I can decide whether to just use the herb as a garnish or push it further by stirring it (a little more flavor) or shaking it (a lot more flavor) with the drink.
Combining similar spirits to achieve balance is a fairly common trick. Just take a look at some Tiki recipes with multiple rums. In this drink, Cardenas has used Campari and Aperol. Campari is bitter/herbal-fruity while Aperol is herbal-fruity/bitter. Both have flavors of orange. Combined the bitterness is lessened while the herbal notes are enriched.
Here is the recipe:
- 3/4 oz. Campari
- 3/4 oz. Aperol
- 1 oz. Lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- 10 Rosemary sprigs
- Combine all of the ingredients, except 1 rosemary sprig, in a shaker without ice. Shake for 10-15 sec.
- Add Ice cubes (not crushed ice) to the shaker and shake until chilled, about 20-30 sec.
- Double strain into a chilled coupe
- Briefly pass the remaining rosemary sprig over a flame to release the oils before dropping it onto the drink.
Note: The Flavor Bible by and Andrew Dornenburg is an excellent source of flavor combinations.