The classic/craft cocktail boom has many benefits and a few detractions. In the plus column, the availability of once-extinct ingredients makes creating the true classic cocktail so much easier and the end product so delicious. In the negative column, this same availability has spawned all manner of questionable cocktails, most are well meaning, but just plain awful.

But every so often, a bartender gets it right and the mixture is a wonderfully new classic. Witness the Bitter Giuseppe, a “new” classic created by Stephen Cole of Barrelhouse Flat, in Chicago. I stumbled upon this wondrous elixir in the January 2013 edition of Imbibe Magazine and I’m really glad I did.

The cocktail uses Cynar, an Italian Amaro based on artichokes as its base, with the use of full-throttle Carpano Antico as an accent, which at first I thought would make a syrupy-sweet mess. The addition of just a hint of fresh lemon juice cuts the cloying sweetness perfectly and renders a refreshing and complex cocktail.


The Bitter Giuseppe

2 oz. Cynar

1 oz. Carpano Antica (Sweet Vermouth)

1⁄4 oz. Lemon juice

6 dashes Orange bitters, (Regans’ Number Six)

Stir all ingredients with ice until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, then garnish with a piece of lemon peel.