San Francisco bartender Carlo Splendorini uses a secret ingredient from Italy to balance his cocktails perfectly: Balsamico!
Carlo, who racks up prizes in national and international cocktail competitions, helped establish Michelin-starred MICHAEL MINA San Francisco as a front-runner in San Francisco’s cocktail scene. He an expert in creative cocktails, mixing ingredients in often surprising ways, and that’s where a few drops of balsamic vinegar come in.
The warm flavors of balsamic vinegar of Modena blend perfectly into holiday cocktails, bringing depth and nuance to the flavors of the season. Carlo proves his point in these two Christmas cocktails. www.modenafinefoods.com
Recipes courtesy Carlo Splendorini
THE ITALIAN SANTA
1 1/2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. spiced pear purée (or pear nectar with a sprinkle of cinnamon)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. blood orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) chestnut balsamic vinegar, such as I Legni Chestnut Balsamico Vinegar of Modena
1 tablespoon whisked egg white (or 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites)
1 piece star anise (garnish)
Shake ingredients together without ice for a few seconds to blend well. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds more. Strain into a wine glass and float a piece of star anise on top.
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. gin
2 tablespoons strawberry purée or finely crushed fresh strawberries
1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) fig infused balsamic vinegar, such as F.lli Gorrieri Fig Balsamic
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Aperol or Campari (slightly bitter aperitifs infused with herbs)
Pink and black peppercorns (garnish)
Combine ingredients into a shaker tin with ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain into a Champagne coupe, garnish with a kiss of freshly ground pink and black pepper on top.
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