The holidays involve a lot of booze and we all run the risk of being over-served. We toast the season all December at parties and dinners and the frequent drinking can take a toll if we’re not careful. But that doesn’t mean you need to abstain from holiday revelry. Serving a low-alcohol signature cocktail at your holiday get-together is both chic and a way to help your guests moderate their tippling.
When looking for a low-ABV spirit that mixes well and complements food, look no further than amaro. Amaro is the Italian word for “bitter” and amari are made from tinctures of herbs and spices. If you’ve never sipped one of the Italian liqueurs on their own (and you definitely should), you’ve probably had one in a cocktail. Campari is used in Negronis and Aperol is the main ingredient in an Aperol Spritz—both of which are popular bar orders.
There are many amari and each has a distinct flavor profile and backstory. Aperitifs like Aperol are traditionally served before meals while digestifs like Campari are usually enjoyed after food. While Negronis and Aperol aren’t the only cocktails taking advantage of amari. Recently, bartenders in America have embraced amari and created new drink recipes to showcase their versatility and drinkability.
Daniel Warrilow, Italian Portfolio Ambassador for amari like Averna and Campari, created the Sage Limonata, a cocktail perfect for pairing with savory holiday dishes like pork, turkey and earthy cheese boards. “The herbaceous flavor of the Averna gets amplified by the sage simple syrup while the lemon soda continuously refreshes your palate,” he says.
The cocktail recipe calls for a homemade lemon soda you’ll need to make in advance of your holiday soiree.
To make the lemon soda, you’ll need:
1 16 oz EzCap bottle
10 oz water
4 oz sage simple syrup
2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Red Star Champagne yeast
Combine all liquid ingredients in the EzCap bottle, then add 15-20 granules of champagne yeast. Seal the lid with the cap and let it sit for 48 hours. Once your soda is ready, fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour in 1.5 oz of Averna, top with your lemon sage soda and garnish with a sage leaf.