In the next few weeks Pauli and Raymond will be coming for dinner. Pauli threw us a feast, a while ago, that would have made Heston Blumenthal proud. And it is time to respond. I am no molecular cook – so have promised a dinner from ‘la cucina povera’ as my riposte. Italian home cooking my favourite way of eating – simple, seasonal and (in my case) possible. Sofabrother will be making the foccaccia, cantuccini and dolce – which I hope will be a Piedmontese Hazelnut Meringue Cake.
Of course there has to be a cocktail – and I wanted something light that would possibly showcase Campari. The Bittercup was Created by Christopher Flett of Uva Wine Bar and Cibo Trattoria in Vancouver.
And it fit the bill perfectly. It has the perfect mixture of green woodsy from the Fernet, tart and dry from the Campari and sweet fizz from the Prosecco. I am not sure it is for everyone. Might have to make it again to doublecheck.
The Bittercup (makes 1 drink – just double quantities for more)
1 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce cranberry juice (real cranberry juice, not cranberry cocktail or a mix)
3/4 ounce grapefruit juice (I would use pink grapefruit or clementine juice as they are in season – and that bit naturally sweeter)
1/4-1/2 ounce simple syrup (1 to 1 ratio)
2 ounces prosecco (must be ice ice ice cold)
Shake everything except the prosecco with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with prosecco. Drink immediately
I always keep a small bottle of simple syrup in my refrigerator because it really is key in making great home cocktails. A simple syrup is really just sugar dissolved into water.The solution is cooked over low heat until it’s clear and then boiled for a minute or so. Plain sugar is not an option, when you add it to an cold cocktail shaker with hard liquor, it just doesn’t dissolve – and you get an icy grit against your teeth. Not a good look in a cocktail. When the sugar is in liquid form, as it is in a simple syrup , your drink will be silky smooth and lightly sweetened. Aaahhh.
Simple Sugar Syrup
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
- Put one cup of water in a small saucepan.
- Add two cups of sugar.
- Heat to a boil while stirring.
- Reduce heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Find a clean glass container that will hold at least a cup and a half.
- Using a funnel, pour liquid into a glass container.
- Seal and store in refrigerator indefinitely.
- Use whenever a recipe calls for simple sugar or simple syrup.
You can also infuse your syrup with fresh herbs or fruit. Lemon and Passionfruit make for great syrups as does Ginger (fabulous with gin). Simply add them to the sugar water mix and let infuse as it comes to the boil. Strain before you decant into the bottle.
This recipe will last for about a month in the fridge If you’re making the syrup for rum-based cocktails – using brown or Demerara sugar gives the syrup a extra roundness from the molasses in the grain. But it colours the syrup. So, not ideal for paler drinks.
To prolong the shelf life of your simple syrup, add a little vodka – about a teaspoon per 250ml.