In my continuing quest to persuade all and sundry of the “beneficial effects” of the bitter orange liqueur Campari, today I seached for a new (to me) cocktail that employs it. I discovered this item:
1 1/2 oz Light rum
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 splash Angostura bitters
1 wedge Lime
Shake rum, chartreuse, campari, and bitters in ice filled cocktail shaker. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lime and drop into drink.
This cocktail offered particular intrigue for me because I have recently changed from my summer suicide blonde haircolor to light auburn: i.e., my “copper” roots. Ha ha!
Also, I had all the ingredients in stock.
“You keep Green Chartreuse on hand?” you ask. Kinda. It was strongly recommended to me by someone. I’ve since come to question that someone’s taste, but not before I shelled out the cash for one sickly green, sickly sweet bottle of the stuff. And whaddaya know, here arrives a need for it.
(At least it’s an amusing bar item. More distressing to me is my stock of light rum. I don’t like the stuff, but I sometimes buy it for an anticipated guest who enjoys a Cuban Libre. I’m happy to have a reason to cycle through it.)
Anyway. I mixed up my first-ever Copper Cocktail, straying from the recipe a bit to put in more Campari than Chartreuse, on account of I like the bitter more than the sweet. The resulting beverage: still quite sweet, but unfortunately much too red. Where was the copper I expected?
I tried again, this time following the recipe more carefully. (I should note at this point that I almost never measure the ingredients in a drink. I’m a graduate of the Harvard Bartending School, damn it. I can pour a three-count with my eyes closed, in a deafening din. If only bartending paid better….)
But this second drink was again still more ruby than copper, and super-super sweet.
“Enough,” I said. For the third try I pulled out my Pottery Barn-approved drink measuring thingie (it’s swank!) and poured the ingredients not into a shaker but straight into my clear cocktail glass, the better to assess the color in progress.
First, the chartreuse.
Second, the Campari, pouring slowly to assess when the color might achieve the proper shade of copper.
With the first drops, the drink turned blood red.
Seeing that a reasonable amount of Campari would overwhelm the cocktail, and knowing I couldn’t drink unadulterated Chartreuse, I nearly gave up on the experiment. But then I remembered: bitters are yellow! Maybe they would bring in the so-desired copper effect!
I dumped in the rest of the Campari, shook in a hearty ten dashes of bitters (is there a measurement that equals ten dashes? a ‘dosh,’ maybe?), then threw the recipe out the window altogether and went back to the liquor cabinet to replace the rum with vodka.
Also, this final time I remembered to squeeze in a lime wedge. The garnish is key.
The resulting drink, which I have consumed and therefore cannot present to you in photo form, looks like a really deep Cosmopolitan and tastes like heavily-spiked Cosmopolitan syrup. Citrus-fruity, sweet and tangy, and red-red-red.
I can’t personally condone it, but someone, somewhere, might discover it’s the ideal beverage for them.
If you are that someone, I salute you. Cheers!