Monday, April 12, 2010

italian witch doctor

1 1/2 oz Giovi Grappa with Stinging Nettles & Lemon Peel
1/2 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Honey Syrup (3:1)
2 dash Fee's Chocolate Bitters
1 pinch Maldon Sea Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
For my second cocktail at Coppa on Wednesday night, I asked bartender Ian to make me the Italian Witch Doctor. When I asked bar manager Corey Bunnewith about the grappa and what went into the infusion, I learned that he was using a pre-flavored grappa and he offered us a taste. The Giovi grappa was rather amazing. It started with a lemon bite at the beginning, a stinging bitterness at the end, and a milky aspect that mellowed it out. In the Italian Witch Doctor, the flavored grappa paired up nicely with another herbal ingredient, the Becherovka liqueur, which is full of cinnamon, anise, and clove notes. The pairing of Becherovka with honey reminded me of Eastern Standard's Metamorphosis, and the honey donated a glorious richness to the drink without making it too sweet. Perhaps it was the pinch of sea salt that helped to shift the drink away from seeming as sweet; this addition might have relieved the need to add a sour flavor to the drink to balance the sweetness level. While the honey did smooth out the drink, the clove and nettle flavors were still noticeable on the swallow along with the chocolate note from the bitters.

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