3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 oz Campari
1 dash Fee's Grapefruit Bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a grapefruit peel (omitted here).
The Sweet Valley High was actually born out of an experience when I was still at Death & Co. I was working service bar one busy weekend night, and the waitress was having a pretty rough night. Just then a gaggle of giggly, early-twenties sorority girls all piled into one of our big booths. You could just see her eyes rolling like, "Great, now this?" So, not wanting to see her mood diminish any further, I just turned to her with a little conspiratorial wink and said, "So what do you think Sweet Valley High's going to drink?" So she starts laughing and the mood broke, and then later on when it was a little less busy in there, we asked each other, "Hey, that'd be a great name for a drink; what would go into a Sweet Valley High?"Joaquin added that he crafted this recipe at Pouring Ribbons in Fall of 2012. Once prepared for me, it offered gin aromas along with that of Campari's orange-herbal ones. The citrus notes continued on into the sip where things were followed up by a complex swallow of gin, Campari, and St. Germain's floral notes.
Well, right off the bat we know it's going to be gin, because that was like the WASPiest book series of all time, so it's gotta be gin. I didn't want something that was too juniper-forward, as I wanted to maintain the broadest range of appeal possible. We added elderflower because for the intended audience, that's kind of their crack, so let's put a tiny amount of that in. We knew it should also be pink, so to counterbalance the St. Germain, we added some Campari in there. Next we pulled out the Cocchi Americano, and that had the right amount of dryness and structure we were looking for. When we were opening Pouring Ribbons and we had these beautiful house-made grapefruit bitters, I knew that was the last remaining touch for that drink to really sing. It proved to be a very popular drink for us, and while no longer on the menu, it remains one of my favorite dealer's choice options.