One thing I never have to worry about is running out of ideas for cocktails each week. I’ve got more ideas than I have time to develop them but even so, sometimes I let a brand give me a hand. When the good people of Campari wanted to work with me and feature their apertif I was a bit hesitant. Truth? Not a big fan. Campari has a pronounced bitter component from the botanicals that are used to brew this gorgeous elixir and I’ve always found I love it’s relative Aperol more. Less bitter = better or at least in my book. But I can’t forget I was always the mom who encouraged my kids to ‘give it another try’ as we all know our tastes change over time so I was willing to give it a go. I did ask if they could provide me with a recipe and I admit, I was excited to see this one was from the one and only Pamela Wiznitzer (@PamelaWiznitzer on Twitter); a well known bartender from the New York City area who has won numerous awards and is heralded as one of the best. I’ve done work with a different brand using one of her recipes and it was terrific so I was suddenly more enthused. This one has only cemented her reputation with me. Seriously amazing cocktail. Named ‘Cold in the Shadows’ originally I’ve just given my own name to it; I’m not big on making up names, I just tell’em like I see’em and this truly is a great Summer Campari Cocktail!
Campari is one of the most gorgeous liqueurs ever. It’s vibrant orange hues remind me of sunset colors over the Rocky Mountains and in this cocktail it was just as warm and magical. And I really mean magical. Can I share that never in a million years would I have thought to combine Campari, raspberry liqueur, lime juice, honey syrup and beer and have a result I loved so much. The sweetness of the honey and the liqueur did everything I had hoped for; successfully tempering the herbaceous tones of the Campari enough that while much harder to discern than it is in a Negroni, you can tell it’s there but it’s simply a complex note for a cocktail that for me was more reminiscent of something with grapefruit. Slightly bitter, a bit tart and really, truly, trust me…AMAZING!
One thing that made this a possibility was Ms. Wiznitzer’s use of relatively standard ingredients. I get asked quite often to showcase a brand and an up and coming mixologist (bartender) by re-creating a cocktail that most often has won a competition. I usually send my regrets. The sourcing of exotic ingredients would take me half a day to find and then result in a cocktail that would have a cost for most users that make them a less than acceptable suggestion from me. I want all of YOU to be able to re-create these too and this one was easy. With some great surprise the one thing I was shocked that I had was a bottle of India Pale Ale. Shocked I tell ya! I am so not a beer drinker but I use them occasionally in cocktails so I do have a small assortment in the farthest reaches of my fridge; that one was an IPA was sort of amazing but still, it’s not a specialty bitters or liqueur that is almost impossible to find. So I can heartily suggest that you give this one a try stat; I think you’ll be equally surprised at how this simple list of ingredients creates an elixir that is un-describable!