Drink of the Week: The Ugly Americano

The Ugly Americano

I admit it, I’ve gone mad and, like last week, this one’s mine. Yes, I’ve gone mad with the power to create my own drinks — even if no one but me actually tries them — and a bit insane over how tasty this Aperol stuff I picked up a few weeks ago is. I can’t claim credit for the sweetly piquant liqueur’s first DOTW appearance two weeks back, the Aperol Americano, as it’s a common enough substitution. This week, however, I’ve changed things up enough that I think it’s possible that I can claim to have created a variation on a classic original.

This drink is, of course, based on the Americano, a real favorite of mine. I have, however, switched out the two main ingredients. Once again, I’ve replaced Campari with it’s milder but more complex cousin, Aperol. This time, however, I’ve also replaced ordinary sweet vermouth with Punt e Mes, a much bolder sort of vermouth with more than a hint of Aperol/Campari-esque bitter sweetness. It’s also often used as a substitute for vermouth in drinks like the Americano.

Even so, the particular drink below hasn’t been featured anywhere that I know of…though, come to think of it, it probably has been tried and written up someplace. I just hope I never hear about it, because I love this drink so much I want to hog as much credit for it as possible. That’s also why I’ve upped the proportions a bit from the typical Americano. For one thing, Aperol has less alcohol than Campari. More important, however, an Ugly Americano should be slightly excessive.

The Ugly Americano

1 1/2 ounces Aperol
1 1/2 ounces Punt e Mes
Soda water
Orange slice (highly recommended garnish)

Pour the Aperol and Punt e Mes over ice in a chilled Tom Collins/highball or similarly sized glass. Add the orange slice and top off with soda water. (Following the snobby practice of Ian Fleming, I used Perrier this time around, as it was on sale.) Stir for a moment and sip. Ummh, good.

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Yes, with this drink I throw all objectivity to the four winds. I pat myself on the back and follow it with a hearty, though weird, self-embrace.

That might be going a bit far in the eyes of others, but I really do think this drink has real potential. It’s sweeter than an Americano but I think it maintains its respectability by adding even more complexity than the original. Seriously, folks, this drink is so tasty I can’t possibly be the first person to have tried it. Right?

  

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Drink of the Week: The Mariposa Avenue

The Mariposa Avenue After taking a break with last week’s post, today I finally complete my trilogy of cocktails made with Mariposa Agave Necter Liqueur.

I debated what to call this drink, but something about it brought me back to my days, oh so long ago, living in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles adjacent to Koreatown. I remembered the name of the street, and the fact that the local Latino kids used the term “mariposa” — which literally means “butterfly” — as a kind of mild insult. Then, the other night I actually found myself on Mariposa Avenue not from L.A.’s very cool R Bar and the die was cast.

As for the drink itself, I basically just borrowed the proportions of a Manhattan and figured that the Mariposa liqueur would bring out the agave flavor of tequila. I was right, so you’ll kind of need to enjoy the flavor of agave for this one to work for you.

The Mariposa Avenue

2 ounces white tequila
1 ounce Maripose Agave Necter Liqueur
1 dash orange bitters
1 maraschino cherry (garnish)

No surprises here. Just combine the tequila, liqueur, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake like crazy, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the maraschino cherry for an extra dash of sweetness.

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Since this one is my own creation, I hesitate to judge it. I did make it for some random people, not cocktail aficionados, who seemed to think it wasn’t disgusting. I will say that I personally enjoy the agave flavor. I had good luck making this with fairly generic regular Sauza and also Sauza Blue, which is 100% blue agave and produces an intriguingly strong, mildly astringent flavor.

So, give this one a whirl and see what you think. Will this drink go down in history, or will it just go down my throat on occasion? It’s up to you dear, readers.

  

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