1 1/2 oz Rock and Rye [New York Distilling Company]
1/2 oz House Strawberry Basil Black Peppercorn Shrub
1/2 oz Zucca
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
Stir with ice, strain into an ice filled rocks glass.
A few months ago we had some friends over for game night (and cocktails of course). As the night was winding down, one of my friends wanted one more drink, but something on the low ABV side of things. Normally I’m a stiff, boozy nightcap kind of guy, so I was excited to get out of my comfort zone and focus on the other side of the spectrum.
I started by digging in the fridge to see what shrubs I had in stock. They are a great way to provide some strong flavor without the alcohol. I found some house strawberry basil black peppercorn shrub hiding in the back. With this in hand, my mind jumped right to Zucca. Not only did this play on the classic strawberry rhubarb pairing, but amari are another way to bring in lots of flavor without much alcohol. Some Punt e Mes bridged the shrub and amaro, but I still needed a base spirit. There was already plenty of bitterness in the glass, so some sweetness was in order. Rock and Rye was the perfect choice, the whiskey notes provide a nod to the more traditional boozy nightcaps, while rock candy sugar brought in some balancing sweetness.
The Governing Boday starts off as all strawberry and rhubarb on the nose. The basil combines with the other herbs in the amaro to eke its way though. That classic combo starts off the sip, but then the sweentess works its way in. There is a pleasant kick from the amaro and shrub, while the whiskey and wine notes smooth things out. The finish is back again to the strawberry and rhubarb, with the sweetness and bitterness alternating on their way out.
Next time you’re in the mood for a night cap, put down that bottle of single malt, step away from the Old Fashioned. Don’t forget about the wonderful world of low ABV cocktails. They can still pack in the flavor without doing any too much damage to your morning.