DARK AND STORMY

Built Cocktail Nov 18, 2019

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

This sweet-spicy cocktail was born in Bermuda just after World War I, the love child of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and some home-brewed ginger beer made by British sailors furloughed on the island.

As the story goes, the name originated when a sailor commented that the combination of the black rum (the “dark”) and the ginger beer (the “stormy”) looked like “the color of a cloud that only a fool or a dead man would sail under.” According to a few trademark certificates on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Gosling holds the trademark on the name Dark ’n Stormy. For our version, we tested our way through different styles of rum, and it turned out that we preferred the intense color and uniquely deep, burnt sugar-like flavors of Black Seal Rum. (You can substitute your favorite aged rum or another brand of black rum if you like.)

Tasters expressed concerns, however, regarding the range of styles and qualities in store-bought ginger beer. Today, store-bought ginger beer is more like soda, a far cry from the traditional beverage, which is fermented using a wild yeast starter. Popular brands vary greatly in style and flavor, so for our Dark and Stormy, we turned to our own homemade Ginger Syrup.

To keep things simple, we built the drink right in the glass (no need to mix up a separate batch of ginger beer), combining the syrup with a splash of fresh lime juice and seltzer water. For the dramatic (you might even say impending) layered presentation, we carefully floated the black rum on top. We prefer to use our homemade Ginger Syrup plus seltzer here, but you can substitute 6 ounces of any premium store-bought ginger beer if desired.

makes 1 cocktail

1½ ounces ginger syrup
½ ounce lime juice, plus lime wedge for garnishing
5 ounces seltzer, chilled
2 ounces black rum, such as Gosling’s

1. Fill chilled collins glass halfway with ice. Add ginger syrup and lime juice and stir to combine using bar spoon. Add seltzer and, using a spoon, gently lift the ginger mixture from the bottom of the glass to top to combine. Top with additional ice, allowing room for the rum.

2. Arrange spoon concave side down near-surface of ice. Gently pour rum onto the back of a spoon and into a cocktail. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

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AMERICANO

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

This gorgeous-looking low-alcohol cocktail is a perfect introduction to the bittersweet charms of Campari and the elegant complexity of sweet vermouth. It’s a close relative of the aperitivo known as the Milano-Torino, which combines equal parts Campari (from Milan) and vermouth (from Turin).

At some point along the way, soda water was added to the “Mi To,” as it’s known in Italy. Cocktail historians claim this bittersweet, bubbly refresher became known as the Americano when it grew popular among American tourists and ex-pats in Italy during Prohibition. We experimented with various ratios of Campari and vermouth and found that the classic 1-to-1 formula has stood the test of time for an excellent reason.

The two main players coexist in perfect balance, the more bitter, astringent qualities of the Campari softened by the gently spiced, sweetly herbal notes of the vermouth. The combination is invigorated by the cooling impact of the seltzer and an orange slice. We prefer our homemade Sweet Vermouth in this recipe, but you may substitute store-bought sweet vermouth. For a more potent take on the Americano, try the Negroni, in which gin is substituted for the seltzer—albeit in a smaller quantity!

makes 1 cocktail

1½ ounces Campari
1½ ounces sweet vermouth
5 ounces seltzer, chilled
Orange slice

Fill chilled collins glass halfway with ice. Add Campari and sweet vermouth and stir to combine using bar spoon. Add seltzer and, using a spoon, gently lift Campari mixture from the bottom of the glass to top to combine. Top with additional ice and garnish with an orange slice. Serve.

The Food Network Recipes AMERICANO

APEROL SPRITZ


WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

Low in alcohol, and with just the right balance between bitter and sweet, the Aperol spritz is one of Italy’s most popular aperitivi, or predinner cocktails. With its fiery sunset-orange hue, it’s also among the most beautiful.

This fizzy cocktail was created in the Veneto region of Italy in the 1950s. Sometimes other mildly bitter liqueurs are used instead of Aperol, and we tested a few: Campari made a bolder, more bitter spritz, and Cynar (an artichoke-based amaro) made an herbaceous cocktail. But Aperol was our favorite. The secret formula for this liqueur was developed more than 100 years ago; it includes bitter and sweet oranges, herbs, and roots (including rhubarb).

The spritz’s popularity explosion has generated countless variations made with various ingredients, but we went back to the source for our Aperol Spritz, using the three original components: Aperol, prosecco, and seltzer, gently stirred so as not to lose the fizzy splendor. (Cava or another dry sparkling wine also works well here.)

When creating our version, we experimented with different proportions, but tasters agreed that adding 3 parts sparkling wine, along with 2 parts Aperol and 1 part seltzer, achieved the most balanced and complex flavor. Garnishes for the Aperol spritz can be the subject of passionate debate.

An orange wedge or peel and green olives are traditional, but these days the olives are often left out, especially outside Italy. In the test kitchen, we appreciated the intriguing salty note a couple of green olives brought to our cocktail, but feel free to omit, if you prefer.

makes 1 cocktail

3 ounces dry sparkling wine, such as prosecco or cava, chilled
2 ounces Aperol
1-ounce seltzer, chilled
Brine-cured green olives
A strip of orange peel

Fill chilled wine glass halfway with ice. Add wine, Aperol, and seltzer. Using a bar spoon, gently lift the mixture from the bottom of the glass to top to combine. Top with additional ice and garnish with olives, if used. Pinch orange peel over the drink and rub the outer edge of the glass with peel, then garnish with olives and orange peel and serve.

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MICHELADA

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

Beer is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about cocktails, but there is a well-established tradition of cocktails made with beer. The Michelada is arguably one of the most classic examples of this family of low-alcohol cocktails. It’s meant to be drunk on a blisteringly hot day—or as a hangover cure.

Originating in Mexico, the Michelada has lots of variations there, depending on what region you’re in. The drink made it to America (via Texas) only relatively recently, in the 1990s. American versions often have tomato juice, but in Mexico, they are just as likely to omit it. One constant is fresh lime. We found that a generous 2 ounces of lime juice added the refreshing tartness we sought.

To balance that tartness, we added doses of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, finding that a thicker hot sauce contributed a bit of body. To ensure that everything was well blended, we combined the flavorful seasoning ingredients in the glass before pouring in the beer. Use a well-chilled Mexican lager here. Our favorite is Tecate, but Corona Extra or Modelo will also work. Depending on the size of your glass, you may have some beer leftover—we’ll let you decide what to do with it.

We recommend Cholula and Tapatío hot sauces for their flavor and thicker consistencies. If using a thinner, more vinegary hot sauce such as Tabasco, start with half the amount called for and adjust to your taste after mixing. While we prefer our Sriracha Rim Salt here, you can substitute the Citrus Rim Salt or Herb Rim Salt from this page or plain kosher salt.

makes 1 cocktail

¼ cup Sriracha Rim Salt (optional)
2 ounces lime juice (2 limes), plus lime wedge for garnishing
½ ounce hot sauce
¼ ounce Worcestershire sauce
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager, chilled

1 Spread salt, if using, into even layer on a small saucer. Moisten about ½ inch of chilled pint glass rim by running a lime wedge around outer edge; dry any excess juice with a paper towel. Roll moistened rim in salt to coat. Remove any excess salt that falls into the glass; set aside.

2 Fill prepared glass halfway with ice. Add lime juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire and stir to combine using bar spoon. Add beer and, using a spoon, gently lift the lime mixture from the bottom of the glass to top to combine. Top with additional ice and garnish with a lime wedge. Serve.

The Food Network Recipes MICHELADA‌‌