A few years back, I heard someone refer to St. Germaine as “bartender’s ketchup.” That really stuck with me. The elderflower liqueur was near-ubiquitous in the late 2000s, popping up on trendy cocktail menus everywhere and dominating nearly every drink it graced. I never got wildly into St. Germaine, but I like the idea that every cocktail drinker has one spirit or liqueur they lean on a bit too heavily, much like a favourite condiment. My cocktail ketchup is Campari — it’s red, after all! — and I am always seeking any excuse to use it.
Most people first try the bitter red aperitif in a Negroni, but that is only the beginning. Yes, it is very good when paired with gin, but it’s also good with orange juice, beer or completely by itself. Recently I have been enjoying it with dark rum and curaçao. The combination is vaguely tropical, but still stirred, serious and silky. It takes well to lime but doesn’t need it; I certainly wouldn’t be mad if you squeezed a wedge or two in there before (or even after) stirring. To make this sorta bitter, sorta citrusy, pretty pink and potent beverage, you will need:
- 60mL dark rum (I used a blend)
- 22mL Campari
- 22mL curaçao or other orange liqueur
Add everything to a mixing glass filled with cracked ice and stir until very cold (aim for a whole minute). Strain into a pretty glass and taste. If you feel like it needs a little acid, squeeze some lime in there, or just garnish with a wheel or strip of zest. If you don’t have any lime, that’s fine too. Like I said, it doesn’t really need it.