Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jan 24, 2013

A Bittersweet After-Dinner Cocktail

A couple of weeks ago, I did a Libation Education on Averna, a bittersweet Italian liqueur in the amaro family.  It's perfect as an aperitivo on its own, but mix it with some sherry and orange bitters, and you've got yourself an insanely simple after-dinner cocktail.  I got the idea from The Kitchn for their Downton Abbey-themed cocktails and they named this one after the mysterious and yet lovable valet Mr. Bates.  The flavors kind of perfectly embody his character - bitter, sweet, old-school and classy.  They used Amaro Nonino, an amaro aged in French Oak which pairs nicely with sherry, but you can get creative and use whatever amaro you have on hand.  The Kitchn also recommended Pedro Ximenez Sherry, but again, use whatever is in your home bar and experiment.  You can't always run out to the liquor store to get specific brands every time you want to make a cocktail.  Just be smart about what you're pairing.

 Because I feel like Averna is on the sweet side of the amaro family, I paired it with a dry sherry instead of a sweet one, so there would be a nicer balance.  I also used my homemade Bitter Revenge Blood Orange Bitters because there's more of a tart flavor profile, as opposed to the more floral Fee Brothers' West Indian Orange Bitters.  I would imagine this libation would take a delightful twist with some lemon or grapefruit bitters as well.  Your guests will be impressed and I think even the Dowager Countess would approve.  It's not like one of those other cocktails that "look too exciting for this early in the evening."

Bittersweet After-Dinner Cocktail
  • 1 oz Averna
  • 1 oz dry sherry
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Orange peel, for garnish
- In a small glass, filled with cracked ice, add the Averna, sherry, bitters and stir.
- Twist an orange peel (peel-side down) over the drink and drop in as a garnish.