Words by Simon Difford
We are constantly updating and adding new cocktails to Difford's Guide as we strive to build the world’s best compendium of recipes – these are some of our favourite recent additions.
With: Gin, sloe gin, Campari, sweet vermouth.
Comment: As the name suggests, this is simply a classic Negroni with sloe gin introduced as a fourth ingredient. Its flavour is exactly as it says on the tin - a sloe berry flavoured Negroni.
With: gin, sugar syrup and Angostura bitters
Comment: The balance of bitters to sugar is key to the success of this cocktail. Use a Japanese dasher bitters bottle and measure your 2:1 sugar syrup judiciously and you'll have made something special. Go easy while spraying the lemon zest over the drink - too much lemon oil will wreck its fine balance.
With: Mezcal, gin, Campari, barolo chinato and Chocolate bitters.
Comment: Mezcal lends a characterful smoky note to this complex riff on a classic Negroni.
Suze you, Sir
With: Tequila blanco, dry vermouth, gentian liqueur, agave syrup and grapefruit bitters.
Comment: We do like a pun and appropriately the original recipe for this cocktail specifies Suze gentian liqueur. The flavour of gentian combines brilliantly with tequila while dry vermouth adds herbal complexity.
With: Dry vermouth, Lowland single malt scotch whisky, amaro, Pedro Ximénez sherry and cracked black pepper
Comment: Stirred down and boozy, this Lowland single malt based cocktail is sweetened and made very approachable by Pedro Ximénez sherry, and awakened by a pinch of cracked black pepper. A great late night sipper.
With: Mezcal, gentian liqueur, dry vermouth and salt.
C/ The subtly smoky notes of mezcal combine brilliantly with the aromatic bitter sweetness of gentian liqueur in this fabulously complex aperitif cocktail.
With: Poitín, falernum, lime juice and Abbotts Bitters.
Comment: Imagine a delicately clove influenced Daiquiri but with the bready influence of poitín, then you are some way towards imagining the taste of this refreshing and invigorating cocktail.
With: Scotch whisky, ruby port, Cynar and Peychaud's bitters.
Comment: Ruby port contributes rich wine notes to this Scotch whisky based cocktail with rhubarb amaro contributing complex bittersweet flavours. The Sun Tavern's original spec calls for "oak bitters" but given its "Red" moniker we opted for Peychaud's Bitters.
Yellow Cactus Flower
With: Suze, mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, lime juice and pineapple juice.
Comment: Jordan Smith describes his creation as "bright, herbaceous, subtly smoky, and refreshingly bittersweet. The pineapple adds texture and a slight sweetness to balance the tartness of the lime and bitterness of the Suze [Jordon's gentain liqueur of choice], while the herbaceousness of the Suze is amplified by the Yellow Chartreuse." We concur! "Bright, herbaceous, subtly smoky, and refreshingly bittersweet" perfectly sums up this challenging aperitif cocktail.
Mexican in Manhattan
With: Añejo tequila, maraschino liqueur, bianco vermouth and lavender bitters.
Comment: I tried making my usual Sweet Manhattan but with anejo tequila as the base spirit and it was not half bad, but there's something about tequila that says 'white' rather than 'red' vermouth. I also started with my favourite addition to a Sweet Manhattan: a half spoon of syrup from the maraschino cherry jar, but añejo tequila is so much more suited to maraschino liqueur. So I switched sweet vermouth for bianco vermouth and Angostura Bitters for lavender bitters.
Original Sin (Gin Joint recipe)
With: Calvados, Carpano Antica Formula, gentian liqueur, honey water and lemon juice.
C/ Lemon and honey with a touch of bitter-sweet flavoursome gentian liqueur.
With: Pisco, limoncello, gentian liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse and bianco vermouth.
Comment: As the name suggests, this pisco based, five equal part, vivid yellow bittersweet aperitif was inspired by the classic Negroni and three of the world's most iconic yellow liqueurs: Limoncello, gentian and Chartreuse Jaune.