This is another example of the
tomfoolery fun stuff that happens when my friend Chris Day (bartender at Sotto in Los Angeles) and I start knocking around cocktail ideas. We thought that somewhere (here, if nowhere else) there needed to be a cocktail special of the day on May 21 — a post-Rapture for those of us who are … Left Behind. (*cue ominous music* … DUM DUM DUUUUUUUM!)
“Left Behind!” cried Chris. “Someone should make a drink called that. Just for the Rapture!”
“Ugh, Left Behind …” says I. “Worst. Books. EVAR.”
“It could be like a Left Hand.”
Hmm, a left hand and another left body part — the left behind as in my left butt cheek, which is what I think about doomsday happening on Saturday. I got yer Rapture right here, pal! *grasps left butt cheek* Yeah, this is sounding better and better.
“I wish we had Port in our repertoire,” he said. “Swap it out for the vermouth. Make it look like blood.”
“No port here either. We should swap out the base spirit. Rum! And Vergano Chinato Americano for the vermouth.”
Chinato (kee-NAH-to) is another style of Italian aperitif wine, the Italian version of a quinquina, as it’s given a bitter component by the addition of cinchona bark, the source of quinine. This one’s lovely, made from red Grignolino grapes in Piedmont and with more bitter oomph than Carpano Antica
“Appleton, Aperol & Chinato,” he said. “Dash Ango, dash mole bitters.”
“That sounds really good in my head,” I said.
It was good — perfectly pleasant. I felt the need for something a bit more bitter, though. We are being Left Behind, after all! The disappearance of Kirk Cameron won’t make up for the bitter tears we’ll shed while we’re weeping, wailing, gnashing teeth, rending clothing and otherwise generally tribulating. I decided to up the Chinato, and instead of reverting back to Campari I thought I’d kick the bitterness up a notch. Cynar, I thought, but not quite so much. I also swapped out Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters (a product I absolutely adore) for a local product with a bit more kick — Miracle Mile Chocolate-Chili Bitters. (No link yet because the website isn’t quite done, but you’ll be hearing a LOT more about those bitters very soon.)
I was pretty happy with the result, but it could still stand for some tinkering. As a one-day cocktail menu special, though, it ain’t bad.
THE LEFT BEHIND COCKTAIL
1-1/2 ounces Appleton Extra rum
1 ounce Vergano Chinato Americano
1/2 ounce Cynar
2 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate-Chili Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients with cracked ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe, twist the peel over the drink and garnish with the peel.
Doesn’t quite look like blood, but it’s tasty enough. For the Left Behind No. 2 (which we didn’t have time to try but will likely try tonight) I’d swap the Cynar out for Campari and use the original proportions of 1-1/2 to 3/4 to 3/4, and maybe add a barspoon of Smith & Cross for a touch of funk.
So, enjoy your drink special (I hope), and Happy Doomsday!
P.S. — Given that this is a variation on the Left Hand, I think a post about said cocktail plus two tasty variations is due next. Stay tuned.
[P.P.S. -- While my tone may indeed be mocking (the idea of the rapture itself, much less calculating it to the day and hour, is the biggest load of peanut butter and horseshit I've ever heard), I have to say that I feel sorry for that nutbar preacher's followers who quit their jobs, sold their houses and everything they had to spend on end-of-the-world-is-nigh billboards. Come Sunday those people will be penniless and destitute, left with nothing but their betrayal. Beware of false prophets, y'all.]