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Love Potions vol. 12: Valentine’s Mixology Gone Macho
by Emily Bell
…R and R Smash: Templeton Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cherry Heering, Brandied Cherries, Rosemary, Lemon, and Old Fashioned Bitters
Mixologist Josh Pearson of Sepia – Chicago, IL
Between the brandied cherries, Cherry Heering, and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Josh Pearson’s R and R Smash at Chicago’s Sepia has enough red stuff to make the Valentine’s cut. But what makes it an ideal romantic elixir is the balance of sweet and bitter, bright and dark (meaning it’s the good listener of the manly cocktail category). The drink “has a flavor aspect that appeals to both men and women,” says Pearson, assuming women tend to seek out sweeter, lighter, fussier drinks, while men worship at the pared-down altar of dark spirits and bitters. And here’s Pearson’s compromise: a generous, single malt backbone of Templeton Rye whiskey and the mosaic flavors (bitter orange, fig, toffee, etc.) of sweet red vermouth give the drink the strong-jawed structure of a “guy’s drink”; brandied cherries, a ruby red dose of Cherry Heering, and rosemary garnish appeal to the gals—chivalry in a glass.

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