Alto Cucina

1 oz Scotch
1 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz St. Germain
orange peel for garnish

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

This is not my drink. It comes from Stephen Shellenberger of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who gave me permission to reproduce it in the out of print Cocktail Collective. I include it here not only because it’s an excellent cocktail, but also because it’s a fantastic template for creating new ones. The balance of base spirit, aperitif, bitter, and floral is superb. Like the Last Word or Negroni, it’s a formula that lends itself to infinite variation.




2 oz bourbon (Big Bottom)
3/4 oz fino sherry
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Chartreuse (green)
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash mole bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I came up with this cocktail while consulting for Big Botton Bourbon, a bottler and distiller based near Portland, Oregon. It was featured on the Metrovino menu.


Midnight Shift

Midnight Shift cocktail on my rooftop.

1 1/2 oz Novo Fogo Barrel Aged Cacha├ža
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Galliano L’Autentico
2 dashes mole bitters
1 dash absinthe
orange peel, for garnish

Give all the ingredients a good long stir with ice and strain onto a big frozen cube, if you have one handy. Otherwise serve it on your normal rocks. And don’t omit the orange peel. Like Jeff Lebowski’s rug, the citrus oil really ties everything together.