This drink was created specifically for a New Year’s tribute to New York City. New York— a city that is uniquely indescribable and entirely American. I wanted the drink to reflect the city’s originality, sophistication, and diversity. Hence, the American Cocktail features ingredients from lands far from Manhattan’s soil but integral to its heritage: rum from Puerto Rico, Maraschino liqueur from Italy, bitters from Trinidad, and champagne from France (birthplace, after all, of the Statue of Liberty). The end result-a lively, complex cocktail-was the 2003 Gold Medal winning cocktail at the Bacardi Martini World Finals in Turin, Italy. One of the more interesting ingredients used in this cocktail is the rarely seen Maraschino liqueur, a key component in such classic cocktails as the Casino, the Aviation, and the Hemingway Daiquiri. Made from spicy Marasca cherries found in Italy and along the Dalmatian coast, Maraschino is a clear, somewhat dry liqueur that should not be confused with the fluorescent pink liquid that accompanies a jar of Maraschino cherries. To make this wonderful liqueur, the cherries are distilled much like a brandy, and the product is aged in casks of Finnish ash. The addition of a separate distillate made from the crushed stones of its fruit imparts a slightly bitter-almond flavor. This product is extremely mixable but must be used sparingly; it is very intense and very concentrated. I am fortunate to have spent several amazing years in the great city of New York, starting out in the West Village while working with Mario Batali and Steve Crane at Po. The vivid pulse of the city and its people have become a part of me.
Sometimes known as the “Marie Antoinette coupe” or “champagne saucer;” this shallow, broad-bowled glass is making a bit of a comeback. I personally like to use this glass for cocktails that contain juice, cream, egg, or syrups along with spirits.
Fresh Lemon Sour:
To make fresh lemon sour, simply mix two parts fresh, filtered (to remove the pulp and seeds) lemon juice with one part simple syrup. Ideally, lemon sour should be made the day you plan to use it, but it will keep refrigerated in a clean bottle for up to three days.
Egg whites are the traditional emulsifier used in classic drinks including the Tom Collins, Whiskey Sour, or the American Cocktail (page 88). They are ideal for adding a creamy texture to a drink as well as a frothy appearance. If you’re uncomfortable using raw egg whites, use pasteurized egg whites available at the grocery store.
The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly—John F. Kennedy
OccasionCocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party
Type of DishAlcoholic Beverage, Beverage, Cocktails
- 1½ oz (45 ml) Bacardi Limon rum
- ½ oz (15 ml) Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- 1½ (45 ml) oz fresh lemon sour (see Notes)
- 1 dash Angostura orange bitters
- 1 tsp (5 ml) egg white
- Chilled champagne
In a mixing glass, add rum, Maraschino liqueur, bitters, fresh lemon sour, and egg white; shake with ice until well blended. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe (see Notes). Top with ice-cold champagne.
2010 Tony Abou-Ganim