The importance of presentation, regarding a cocktail (and life in general), cannot be over-emphasized. After all, it’s your introduction to the new drink, the first time you lay eyes on it. And you would like this to be one of those “frisson” moments where your eyebrows raise, your eyes open wide, the corner of your lips move into a smile. “Wow! Look at this!” you say to yourself. And you regard the drink for a moment more before taking that first sip. Then, of course, the outward appearance must yield to its taste. After all, who cares if it looks great but its flavor leaves you unimpressed (much like a person). And instead of that smile full of satisfaction, you tilt your head to the side and utter that most-uninspired of syllables: “Meh.”
So it is with this in mind—that a drink’s taste is most important—that I offer to you my newest cocktail creation, a drink admittedly lacking in appearance, but exulting in flavor. Yes, it’s kind of greenish-black in color, not exactly a looker. In fact, it looks like, well, for lack of a better word, sludge (hence, its name). But in its defense, those black candy “blackberries” as a garnish do give it a certain playfulness and devil-may-care insouciance. And if you can get past this to give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Somehow, the earthiness of Cynar (the wonderful artichoke amaro) balances with the juniper and botanicals of Citadelle gin. Add to this, the licorice flavor of Romana Black with the herbal complexity of Green Chartreuse, with that hint of ginger and lemon. All in all, a taste unlike anything else—smooth, satisfying, and delicious, despite its homely appearance. “Sludge”. Enjoy!
¾ part Cynar
¾ part Citadelle Gin
¾ part Romana Black Sambuca
1/3 part Stolichnaya Vodka
splash of Green Chartreuse
dash of Hella Bitters Ginger Lemon bitters
Shake over ice to chill. Pour into a chilled
cocktail glass. Garnish with three Haribo
candy blackberries on a pick.