The Art of Choke

Here’s one of many fantastic drinks I had during my first evening at Cure back home in New Orleans, finally getting there about four months after they opened.

This is a drink from the book by Cure bartenders Kirk Estopinal and Maks Pazuniak [currently out of print but soon-to-be-reissued] which was created by Kyle Davidson from The Violet Hour in Chicago. It appears on Cure’s side menu, not the main one, and is a must-get. Again based on half-spirit, half-amaro, all the ingredients play off one another so well. It’s absolutely out of this world. It’s another one of those drinks that let the bitterness of the amaro be more assertive but still keep it in check (Cynar is relentlessly bitter, and one of the only amaros I don’t drink by itself). The description from the book tells you exactly what to expect:

Picture yourself in the limestone-walled courtyard of an Italian villa off the coast of the Riviera. You are surrounded by fragrant herbs and flowers, and the sea air is blowing gently. The sun is bright, but it’s not hot, and you have nothing to do all day but relax and savor the sensations all around you. Drinking this cocktail is kind of like that if somebody suddenly punched you in the stomach just as you were begining to doze off in the sun. In a good way.

Um … yeah you right.


(by Kyle Davidson, The Violet Hour, Chicago)

1 ounce white rum.
1 ounce Cynar.
1/8 ounce fresh lime juice.
1/8 ounce rich Demerara sugar syrup (2:1).
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse.
Sprig of mint.

Bruise the mint sprig with the other ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir with ice for half a minute, then strain over fresh ice into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with another mint sprig.