Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Collaboration

Still a big favorite!!!

This is a drink that was created in February of this year through a serendipitous collaboration with a friend, whereby we named off ingredients like a dare, decided on the proportions together, and then we each made one in our own home bar.

The results were jaw droppingly good and the drink has been in regular rotation for both of us for several months now. Up until now I've been keeping it to myself rather greedily - a closely guarded secret, and it's only with said friend's blessings, that I am releasing the recipe now.

It is versatile in its serving requirements, working as equally well as a slow sipper in an old fashioned glass over a large ice cube, as it is served "up" in a cocktail glass as a quick "pick-me-up".

We've played with a few variations, Wild Turkey Rye works best with its big bold spicy rye flavor. The Wormwood bitters add a very nice touch and are worth seeking out, though Angostura will work in a pinch.

The Cocchi's high quinine profile works better than Lillet to provide structure against the Strega/Averna combo, and gives just the right mouth feel to the drink.

The 1/4 ounce of Strega may not seem like is in fact enough to allow the robust character of this spirit to be known in the drink. Also, it somehow allows the more subtle flavors of the liqueur to emerge.

Averna is just the right choice of amari to inject herbal depth and subtle sweetness into the mix, and it balances perfectly Strega's brash character. [Mix these two together over ice on a 2:1 ratio (Averna to Strega), you have an excellent digistif with wonderful balance and depth.]

The sublime in this recipe is the transformation that takes places when all of these ingredients come together.

With this recipe the whole is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts. How we struck upon this crazily good of a drink on the first try, still makes us chuckle in disbelief. Try it for yourself, I'd love to hear what you think!

The "Collab"(oration)

1 1/2 ounces (45 ml) Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
3/4 ounce (22 ml) Cocchi Americano
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Averna
1/4 ounce (7 ml) Strega
1-2 good dashes of Cocktail Kingdom's Wormwood Bitters

Stir with ice and strain over a large ice cube, or serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


  1. So now I have to find Strega and Wormwood bitters, but I made this with Yellow Chartreuse and Angostura and it is damn fine.

    I have been drinking rye and averna with lemon and loving it. Averna has topped my list of amaros.
    Thanks for the collaboration!

  2. Averna is really good stuff, one of my favorite of the amari for certain! You have to love the Wild Turkey Rye too, it's an amazing value.

    Yellow Chartreuse sounded like a great substitute. I just made one using it and split the mix into 2 drinks, one with ango, and one with wormwood bitters.

    I still prefer the Strega, but only slightly, The yellow Chartreuse is great as a substitution.

    The ango is slightly "cleaner" on the nose and palate when compared next to the wormwood bitters.

    While I think the wormwood bitters add an extra dimension to this drink that is hard to beat, I have to agree - the result subbing yellow Chartreuse and ango is "damn fine" indeed!