After my food-and-drink-focused trip to NYC and New Jersey (for the Wine Library 2010 Supertasting), I'm winding down at home and had planned an evening of abstaining from any additional high-calorie foods (that was blown away by my cheese, salami, potato chip, and pretzel dinner) and alcoholic drinks. And yet, in perusing my purchase order from Astor Wines & Spirits I began to fantasize about all of the cocktail-making fun that awaits me when my order arrives. The order consists of items I cannot find locally, in spite of being vocal about my desires for such items, including Delaware Phoenix Distellery's Walton Waters and Meadow of Love absinthes, Pacifique Absinthe, Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, Sagatiba's Pura and Vela cachacas, Catdaddy Moonshine, and Fernet Branca's Branca Menta. I'm excited to try some of these items, and revisit old friends (so to speak), but the Branca Menta is something I've been wanting to access for the longest time. In anticipation I've been doing some research on Fernet Branca and Branca Menta, and discovered that the former is quite popular with Coca Cola in Argentina, so much so that a popular song, Fernet con Coca, was written about the drink. The notion of mixing a bitter amaro with a sweet soda got me thinking about a bottle of Luxardo Bitter that I have sitting in my basement. Luxardo is most similar to Campari, yet a bit less thick and bracing. If Argentinians love their Fernet con Coca so much that they don't want to be without it in a jail cell (those are the translated lyrics from the song), then maybe Luxardo Bitter and Pepsi Throwback might be equally nice. I mixed 1 oz of Luxardo Bitter to one tall ice-filled glass full of Pepsi and found it to be quite refreshing and delightful. The bitterness balances nicely with the sweetness of the Pepsi and the alcohol content is on the lower side--a perfect ending to a lovely, if calorie-laden, vacation.
Cheers! ~Dr. Cocktation
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