You may still be stuffed to the gills after Thursday's Thanksgiving feast, but hopefully you have room for one more seasonal treat, this time, in cocktail form. I recently had the pleasure of taking a class with Jonathan Pogash, a.k.a. The Cocktail Guru at Astor Center. Pogash's class, The Cocktail Lab, reviewed some basic cocktail history and techniques, but also included an Iron Chef-style task where each small group had to create a cocktail that contained a secret ingredient. We could use a wide range of ingredients lined up on the bar, including spirits galore, fresh fruits, herbs, tea, eggs, and more, but the secret ingredient—in our team's case, Averna, an Italian amaro—had to be included in the mix.
One of the ingredients in our bar pantry was pumpkin puree. A few days prior to the class, I had tasted a pumpkin cocktail at Apotheke made with Beija Cachaca; inspired by that, and also by a recent taste of (ri)1 Rye Whiskey, filled with spicy cinnamon notes, I suggested a pumpkin cocktail. Averna is at the same time bitter and sweet, and is most often consumed as a digestif after a meal. Given its flavor profile, we thought about using it as we would bitters—not as the focus of the drink, but as a highlight. After tasting and a few failures, we came up with a winner. It's a rich drink—you might not want more than one—but after Thanksgiving, a little moderation couldn't hurt.
1/8 oz. Averna 1 1/2 oz (ri)1 Rye Whiskey 1/4 oz fresh orange juice 1 barspoon pumpkin puree 1 barspoon maple syrup 1 dash pumpkin pie spice 2 dashes angostura bitters 1 egg white
Dry shake all ingredients first (that is, shake without ice) in a Boston shaker. Then add ice and shake again very well. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.