Cilantro has had some great cocktail lists in recent years and this winter’s selection of exotic libations with a tropical bent is no exception. Aptly dubbed “Into the Wild,” the list features a No Speak Americano with Aperol, Punt e Mes and a black-tea-anise syrup; a Stray Greyhound with grapefruit juice, Punt e Mes and rosemary syrup; and a Lion Around with Lillet, vodka, gin and dandelion honey wine, among others.
But it’s the Pachamama, whose name references the Incan fertility goddess, that got my attention. It’s a gin-lemon-sugar drink that’s elevated with black walnut bitters and an absinthe rinse. Then, it’s served quite flamboyantly with a flaming sprig of thyme, as if it’s an offering to Pachamama herself. To achieve this dramatic flair the thyme has been soaked in Green Chartruse, which helps it flame awhile.
When it’s safe to drink the overall effect is a slightly smoky, very herbaceous cocktail that’s just right for any drinking altar (like a bar). If you don’t finish the whole thing they’ll throw you into the volcano, so drink up!
This gin-based cocktail is simple yet surprisingly complex.
- Absinthe rinse
- 2 oz The Botanist gin
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water ratio)
- 3 dashes black walnut bitters
- Garnish: Thyme soaked in Green Chartreuse
Method: Soak a sprig of thyme in Green Chartreuse. Rinse a martini glass with absinthe. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters with ice. Shake, then strain into the martini glass. Remove thyme from Green Chartreuse, set afire and place atop the glass. — Recipe courtesy Cilantro
It’s true the Negroni is an acquired taste. At first sip many react with bitter beer face; that is to say, they scrunch up their noses and pucker their lips and wonder what exactly they’re supposed to love about a drink with equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari (an orange-flavoured, bitter Italian aperitif). Let the ice melt a bit and have another sip. You may not be won over immediately, but the longer you entertain its bittersweet taste, the more you will like it. Trust me on this.
Try one of Cilantro’s six twists on the Negroni during Negroni Week, on through June 8. Image courtesy Cilantro, a Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts restaurant.
Whether or not you like them, you’re kind of obligated to try one this weekend because it’s Negroni Week through June 8. If traditional Negronis aren’t your thing, head over to Cilantro and check our their Negroni menu. Bartender Dominik Aschauer has created six twists on the classic drink. There’s his award-winning Cynar Flip, with Cynar Bitter, cardamom tonic and a rich egg custard, or sip on the Di Dieri, a champagne cocktail with hints of Campari and vermouth. Even the almost-classic Count Negroni (see recipe) strays from the traditional concoction with the addition of a single juniper berry and a dash of orange bitters. In the words of the menu, “Classic cocktails are so 2009.”
As part of Negroni Week, Cilantro is donating $1 to the Mustard Seed for every Negroni sold. If you still can’t get your head around the Negroni and its bitter brethren, suck it up and swallow it down. It’s for a good cause!
- 1 oz New Deal Gin
- 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
- 1 oz Campari Bitter
- 1 Juniper Berry
- Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Method: Crack juniper berry into a mixing glass. Add other ingredients with ice into mixing glass and stir until chilled (approximately 30 seconds). Strain into rocks glass with large ice cube. Garnish with a flamed orange peel over the cocktail, rim glass and toss in orange peel.
— Recipe courtesy Cilantro