Thursday 19 April 2012

Amaro April: "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo

Through collecting new cocktails, new information, and engaging in some conversations for Amaro April I found out about a very fitting and very awesome new bar in New York called Amor y Amargo ("love and bitters") from barman Sother Teague. "AyA" is the first bar in New York (and the first I've heard of at all, actually) to "focus solely on exploring the richness of the world's bitters" - from amari, to amer, to Kräuterlikör, and so on. They have their own creations as well, including house-made vermouth on tap (for real), and being in partnership with Bittermens means they have a lot of bottlings that we'll probably never see over here (or up here - take your pick). You can even buy some of these bitters in their store, or take a class on making your own syrups and a tinctures, so it's a must if you're into bitter or trying to get there (and you should, if this month's series is any indication).
They've already racked up awards from numerous magazines and websites, and just looking at the menu and pictures of the bitters collection was inspiring me to do a little post on AyA on its own - then Sother sent me six recipes instead of just one when I asked him to contribute this month, which means I simply must do something on them and share all these delicious drinks. (The truly sad part is that all but one of the recipes include ingredients you can't buy in Canada, but some craft bars will have the good stuff and so will Washington if you take a booze-stop on your next road trip).

I'm going to share two different cocktails today, neither of which are on the menu at AyA yet, featuring two different base spirits and two different amari  from two different bartenders (and it took me a long time to decide which ones to print first). One thing we haven't seen all month is any kind of brandy, so I had to go with Sother's "Bad Apple," which he describes as "floral and slightly fruity, but with a bitter punch." The amaro is familiar territory - Averna - but the bitters are an interesting one from Bittermens - the Hellfire Shrub, with flavours of spice and pepper and being a shrub, vinegar. Thankfully you can get all but one of the ingredients for this one at Legacy, Averna at $48, Antica at $75, and Yellow Chartreuse at $44, and the Bittermens are only $16 at Gourmet Warehouse. As for the apple brandy, I can't seem to find Laird's anywhere, but to substitute, there are several kinds of Calvados available at $40-50. I should also mention that the Antica is only $28, Averna is $33, and the Laird's is only $24, but surprisingly Yellow Chartreuse goes for a whopping $61. Score one for us!

Bad Apple

2oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
0.75oz Averna
0.75oz Carpano Antica
1 dash Hellfire Shrub (Bittermens)

Stir with ice and strain into a Yellow Chartreuse-rinsed glass.

The next is one that really fits my tastes as a variation on the Manhattan, but, as Sother puts it, "with some lovely dark tobacco flavours and a funky bitterness." This drink comes from another AyA barman by the name of Chris Elford, who is also a distiller at King's County, a certified cicerone (beer extraordinaire), and is currently opening another two bars in Manhattan. He named his drink after a neighbourhood in Richmond, Virginia, that was named "the Harlem of the South" for its African-American arts scene. Rittenhouse and Nardini is a combination I've actually tried before at Cin Cin to great success, but unfortunately the Nardini is unavailable in Canada. It's only $28 in Washington though! Gosh I'm getting tired of writing that sort of thing. I may give up on offering buying advice soon because it's really depressing me...
As for the wormwood bitters, you can get them from Cocktail Kindgom.

Jackson Ward

2oz Rittenhouse Rye
0.75oz Amaro Nardini
0.25oz Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Wormwood Bitters 

1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice. Serve up in a chilled coupe. Garnish with expressed lemon peel.

Thank you kindly to Sother and Chris for these originals, and thanks to AyA for doing something so cool and exciting!
Check out their new site here, and follow them @BRAINSNYC
Sother Teague is @CreativeDrunk
Chris Elford is @ChrisElford
and AyA can be found at @amoryamargo

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See a buying guide for amaro here ]]

[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See "The Penny Farthing" from Pourhouse here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Sevilla" from Beretta here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]] 

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