101 Best New Cocktails: Pointy Reckoning by Claire Prideaux, Il Lido Italian Canteen, Cottesloe, Western Australia.
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Adapted from a recipe by Claire Prideaux, Il Lido Italian Canteen, Cottesloe, Western Australia.
“At the Italian restaurant where I bartend, there is a mysterious and enormous stash of Liquore Strega. Nobody knows how long it has been there, or even who ordered such an unnecessary quantity. Consequently, for at least the last two years, we’ve been trying to dream up a cocktail using Strega so that we have a hope of using it all up sometime within the next two decades. Countless hours of Googling and consultation and experimentation took place, but we were never really all that happy with any of these creations, and the customers even less so.
“One day a couple of months ago, I was trawling Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipes for probably the thirtieth time, but it was the first time I had really noticed that he combined Strega with cinnamon in the Autumn Leaves. From that pairing, the rest just seemed to come out of nowhere. Though if you know me, it’s pretty predictable that I would choose rye whiskey as the base spirit, and I have an affection for Hellfire bitters that borders on obsessive. So really, I just combined a lot of my favourite things, and to hell with everyone else… but the result – simultaneously spicy, herbal and fresh – was surprisingly very well-received.
“The name is a wink to the Strega, which translates to “witch” in Italian. The bottles themselves are even labelled with a large sketch of a crone! I love drink names with a literary background, and the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about witchcraft was Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The name comes from a line uttered by the main antagonist, when she warns her friends that snitching on her to the authorities for practicing witchcraft will result in them being brought “a pointy reckoning in [their] sleep”.
45 ml (1.5 oz) Wild Turkey 101 Rye
30 ml (1 oz) Liquore Strega
25ml (.85 oz) fresh lemon juice
25ml (.85 oz) cinnamon syrup*
1 dash Bitter Truth lemon bitters
1 dash Bittermens Hellfire bitters
Shake all ingredients well and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
*To make cinnamon syrup, add 1 cup white sugar to 1 cup just-boiled water and stir until dissolved; add 5 cinnamon quills and let steep for 3-4 hours. Remove quills and keep syrup in fridge until use.
gaz sez: I love drinks with a good back-story, and this one sure as heck has that, but like Claire, I like to see Strega be put to good use, too, and she pulled this one off admirably. Nice one, Claire.