101 Best New Cocktails: Red Barchetta by Mel James, BC’s Kitchen, Lake St. Louis, MO on gazregan.com

Red Barchetta

Adapted from a recipe by Mel James, BC’s Kitchen, Lake St. Louis, MO.

“I created this cocktail for the 2012 Campari competition. It is quite special to me because it was the first cocktail that I created 100% on my own, with no help, opinions asked or input from anyone (and only my second competition at that point as well). It tied first place with Ted Kilgore, and the tie breaker ended up being our technical scores. I took second place and was beside myself thrilled – I had never expected to even place, and the fact that people enjoyed one of my cocktails brought me a joy that is beyond words.” Mel James.

2 strawberries, hulled

45 ml (1.5 oz) Campari

30 ml (1 oz) North Shore gin #6

30 ml (1 oz) The Big O ginger liqueur

7.5 ml (.25 oz) Cherry Heering

7.5 ml (.25 oz) premium aged balsamic vinegar

3 dashes Angostura orange bitters

1 strawberry speared with a small rosemary sprig, as garnish

Muddle the strawberries in a mixing glass, then add the remaining ingredients. Shake over ice and fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.

gaz sez: This is one of those recipes that shouldn’t work, but it does. When I read it I nearly threw it into the circular file, but hey, it’s got gin and Campari, right? I gave it a shot. It worked. I especially like the way the strawberries play with the balsamic in this one, and the ginger and cherry liqueurs dance well together, too, but it’s the Campari/gin combination that holds this drink together, and the aromatic rosemary garnish adds a special something, too.

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