Ok, so yesterday I posted the menu for a delicious 7 course dinner Jess and I created as a gift to my parents for their birthday. As an amuse Bouche Jess made a chorizo, crab and leek arancini with crab bubbles.
Alongside the dish I served what I call the Italian Daisy. The Daisy is a classic style of drink harking back to the turn of the 20th century. It was in the family of sours and differed from a Fizz (The Fizz is another style of drink which I go into depth about in this post, suffice to say that it was effectively a fizzy sour) only in that it had orange cordial added to it, by orange cordial we refer to such products as Grand Marnier. David Wondrich refers to this incarnation as the “Original Daisy of the 1870s”, sourced from the 1876 copy of Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks. Again, I could go into significant detail about the various iterations of the daisy and that even the cordial varied, but we will not digress. This Original Daisy contained a base spirit, lemon juice, gum syrup, and orange cordial, this was then shaken and strained into a crushed-ice filled glass and topped with soda water.
The Daisy evolved over time and by the early 1900s the proportion of soda water had decreased to just a few dashes, the orange cordial had been replaced with grenadine, and decorated with fruits in season of all sorts. For my italian reincarnation of the drink, I took the cues of decreased soda from the evolved daisy, dropped the crushed ice. I turned it on its head a bit by making the orange cordial the more prominent ingredient as well as using a bitter “cordial” instead of a sweet one. Here’s what I did;
The Italian Daisy
0.75 oz Grappa
0.5 oz Amaro Montenegro
1.25 oz Aperol
.025 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Soda Water
Shake everything but the soda water on ice. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Add the soda and garnish with a lemon twist.
You will note that my portions are somewhat reduced, this is because this was the cocktail being paired with the amuse bouche and my parents had another 6 drinks ahead of them so I purposefully made it a little smaller. You will also note that there is not a whole lot of lemon juice here, that’s because this was my Italian Daisy and bitter is to italians what sour is to americans. In this case I have opted out of using gum syrup or sugar to sweeten, and used the Amaro Montenegro instead. If you haven’t tasted it, be aware that Amaro Montenegro is quite sweet and not as bitter as other amari. My point being that you cannot just switch it out for another amaro and that you don’t need any additional sweetener, between the Montenegro and the Aperol, you’re all set.
This drink acted as the aperitif to get the appetites going and paired well with Jess’ arancini with the gentle bite of the grappa balancing the spice of the chorizo.
The next course was the Wagu spinalis tataki which I will be posting about soon, as you can imagine, it was delicious!