This Cynar Sour Is the Perfect Pre-Dinner Libation

This Cynar Sour Is the Perfect Pre-Dinner Libation
Photo: Claire Lower

My booze tolerance has plummeted during the pandemic. It turns out my interest in cocktails is directly linked to my ability to pay a skilled worker to make them for me, which means I haven’t been drinking many cocktails at home, save for the occasional celebratory martini.

Still, I enjoy the experience of sipping on an ice cold mixture of ethanol, sugar, and (sometimes) juice, particularly while I’m cooking dinner. This is where low-proof amari — such as Cynar — come in handy. Like nearly every other type of booze, the woodsy, artichoke-based liqueur works beautifully in our basic sour recipe, though I would recommend you decrease the simple syrup from the usual 22mL to 15mL, because Cynar brings a good bit of its own sweetness.

If is, to me, a perfect aperitif. It’s a delightful palate cleanser — bright and sweet and bitter — and boozy enough to put you in a good mood without getting you sloshed (even if your tolerance is low and your stomach is empty). I like it served up in a fancy little glass, but only after it has been shaken hard. The dilution is really important here — without it the drink we’ll feel too viscous and syrupy. To make it, you will need:

  • 60mL Cynar
  • 22mL lemon juice
  • 15mL simple syrup

Add everything to a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice (or one big rock) and shake hard until the shaker becomes unbearably cold. Strain into a coupe or something similar, and sip while you make your supper (or lunch, or maybe even breakfast, depending on the day).

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