This drink caught my eye when it was posted by Imbibe. It was originally made by Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV in San Francisco. The set of ingredients and proportions reminded me of the La Bicyclette I posted about earlier this week, albeit it taking them in a rather different direction.
The drink called for a high proof rye and lots of it, but I was curious how the balance of the drink could shift depending on how it was constructed.
1.5-2 oz high proof rye whiskey
0.5 oz Campari
0.25 oz crême de cacao
2 dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with a strip of orange peel.
The 2 oz whiskey version has a slightly unbalanced nose with the whiskey and Campari notes clashing, with cacao and a little funk behind them. The sip opens with moderate sweetness, then unfolds rye whiskey and cacao bitterness, backed up by the Campari. The finish is pleasantly bitter balanced between the cacao and Campari.
The 1.5 oz whiskey version has a nose dominated by chocolate, with the whiskey and Campari in the background. The sip begins with moderate sweetness, with dark chocolate throughout undergirded by rye and Campari. The finish is bittersweet, again dominated by the chocolate.
This really demonstrates what a potent ingredient crême de cacao can be. Even a half ounce shift in the amount of whiskey is enough to completely alter the balance of the drink. My personal preference is probably somewhere between the two because I find the 2 oz version to be too far towards the rye while the 1.5 oz version lets the cacao dominate. I'd also be curious to try this with another amaro like Bruto Americano with its herbal quality, though a lighter product like Aperol would just get lost in the more strongly flavored ingredients.
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