Cocktail Recipe: Criterium

I want to start off this post by saying that these “Shit that” whoever “says” videos flying around YouTube are hilarious. “Shit New Yorkers Say” is especially funny (“Where’s the train?” “All I had to eat today was a bagel.” “Queens?”).

“Shit Bartenders Say”  is so good, I’ll embed it here. Please, take the time to watch. I’ll wait.

This is a long way of saying that when my friend Kara Newman posted a link to this video and decided to note the quote “I’m really into Amaro lately,” I was laughing — at myself, especially. I just got “into” Amaro — Kris and Irene have been talking about it lots lately — and this was the first cocktail I tried with it. Irene found this cocktail — the Criterium — in the current issue of La Cucina Italiana, where another friend, Mindy Fox, is food editor. (By the way, Mindy’s book, “A Bird in the Oven,” is excellent. We’ve made two recipes here at Sour Cherry Farm, and Irene has made tons more. They’re all amazing. But I digress.)

Back to the cocktail. It’s got the lovely bitter flavor of Amaro, along with some sweetness from the grapefruit and tart from the lemon. It tastes sort of like a grown-up Coca Cola, without the cloy. We loved it. And yes. I’m really into Amaro lately.

The recipe, after the jump.


From St. John Frizell at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, via La Cucina Italiana

In 1845, Ettore Zucca introduced his rich, rhubarb-based amaro in Milan. It became popular at the famous Caffè Miani in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele—so popular that the caffè became known as Zucca in Galleria.

The Criterium cocktail hails from Red Hook, a waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn. St. John Frizell, owner of the culinary outpost Fort Defiance, balances Zucca with the tang of grapefruit and a refreshing spritz of soda water to commemorate the popular Red Hook Criterium bicycle race.

1 1/2 ounces Zucca amaro (we used Luxardo)
1 1/2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce gin
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
Soda water
1 (1/2-inch-wide) strip of grapefruit zest

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add amaro, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, gin and sugar. Shake well and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with soda. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

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