I am really appreciating the artistry involved in the “Scaffa style” of cocktail creation.* No dilution with water from shaking or stirring over ice. No juices or sodas or other typical ingredients to transform the flavors of the alcohol. Just the alcohol itself at room temperature, direct from the shelf (or “cabinet”, as “scaffa” supposedly means cabinet. Although this is open to debate). The choice of liquor and liqueurs becomes paramount, as do the ratios of the ingredients used, since there is nothing to smooth out the flavors as in most cocktails. From the perspective of the Mixologist, this is the supreme challenge: to create a drink that is complete, balanced, smooth, surprising, and
delicious with just the alcohol itself. Traditionally, the cocktail, as it’s existed since the early 19th century, is comprised of four elements: spirits, water, sugar, and bitters. (The water is usually from diluted ice; the sugar from juices, sodas, or simple syrup.) With Scaffa there is only one element: alcohol. Sometimes two, as I like to add a dash of bitters to some of my creations as that final flourish. I’ve seen other mixologists add water at room temperature to their Scaffa inventions, but to me this defeats the whole purpose, which is no dilution with water. The focus is on the ingredients themselves, and the artful manner in which they are employed by the artist/mixologist. The result is a marvelous (hopefully) dance of subtlety and nuance, the interplay of tastes and sensations from each liquor and liqueur, with nothing to mask or alter it.
It’s like having that brandy or bourbon, neat in a glass. And one of the wonderful things about the cocktail culture is how things taste differently depending on how they are prepared, such as bourbon by itself, over ice, or with a few drops of water. With an artfully prepared drink made in the Scaffa style, you have the comforting sensation of warmth, as well as the delicate interplay of flavors on the palate. The different liquors and liqueurs can be appreciated on their own with nothing in the way.
My other Scaffa creations were inspired by Italian cinema: Fellini and Antonioni. (See below.) Today’s cocktail is named for Fellini’s 1954 film La Strada. A labour of love that became Herculean (it took years to be realized), and when it finally debuted, it was greeted with jeers and fistfights in the audience between Fellini’s supporters and his detractors. But over time, people have come to recognize its artistry and genius, and it’s now regarded as a high point in Fellini’s long, illustrious career, and as one of the greatest, most influential films ever made.
To make this drink, inspired by Fellini’s film, I’ve employed three marvelous Italian liqueurs: Luxardo Amaro Abano (dark, almost black, with a complex taste that among many flavors recalls Fernet), Amaro Nonino, the grappa-based amaro with notes of rhubarb, saffron, and tamarind, and Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso, the wine-based apéritif with its herbal and bitter orange flavors. To this I add a splash of Crème Yvette or Chambord. (See BLOG entry for May 21, 2016: Ultra Violets: Crème Yvette vs Crème de Violette) And I finish it with a dash of Rhubarb bitters, with a dried apricot as a garnish. A beautiful, complex, subtly satisfying and relaxing drink for the end of a meal or the end of the day.
½ part Amaro Nonino
½ part Luxardo Amaro Abano
½ part Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso
¼ part Crème Yvette or Chambord
dash of Fee Brothers Rhubarb bitters
Build in a tumbler without ice. Stir. Garnish with a
dried Apricot slice.
*See these BLOG entries:
Scofflaw: A New Cocktail—A Response to the Absurd, the Unjust, the Tyrannical,
The Scaffa Trilogy,
A Warming Drink for a Cold Winter's Night: More Scaffa!, as well as the video in KEVIN'S COCKTAIL MINUTE:
"Marcello's Cigarette Hangs Just Right From His Lips"
Mi piace questo!