Mixing It Up: The Italian Garden by Josh Powell

This gin-based cocktail with Italicus bergamot liqueur strikes an aromatic balance between sweet and bitter.
photo by Josh Powell
photo by Josh Powell

One of the things I love the most about bartending is that new spirits and liqueurs are becoming available everyday, allowing bartenders to push drinks creativity to new heights and to twist classics with new ingredients.

One of my favourite new products is the fantastic Italicus, an aperitivo created by Giuseppe Gallo. Silver medal and Italy Aperitif of the Year in the 2016 NY International Spirits Competition, it is a sweet but dry bergamot liqueur (Rosolio di Bergamotto) with a silky mouthfeel that, with its aromatics, I feel is one of the most beautiful bottles to come to market in recent years.

I looked at ways to use it to create a drink for a customer who requested something well balanced between sweet and dry, but also short and strong. The first thing that came to mind was a Martini as the perfect blank canvas drink to add or substitute flavours. The drink I created is somewhere between a Martini and a Hanky Panky with a slight bitter edge.

Making the cocktail is really simple as it consists of just 3 ingredients stirred down together and poured into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass.

Named ‘Italian Garden’ because of the flavours and origins of the ingredients, it uses 35ml Tanqueray 10 which is a sweet, floral gin with chamomile and grapefruit. Then I add 25ml of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto and 10ml of the Cynar, an Italian amaro with artichoke, to add the touch of bitterness. This ingredient is delicious neat as an after dinner digestif, but also does double duty in cocktails to add complexity, depth and warmth.

There are no limits to how creative we can get when the availability of products is forever growing and expanding, as new and interesting flavours such as Italicus come to market.

Italian Garden by Josh Powell

  • 35 mL (a little over 1 oz) Tanqueray 10 Gin
  • 25 mL (a little over 3/4 oz) Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
  • 10 mL (just over 1/4 oz) Cynar
  • garnish: orange twist

Stir all ingredients with ice until well chilled. Strain into chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with orange twist.

Cin! Cin!

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