When Caffè Storico, the Stephen Starr restaurant in the New York Historical Society, opened some years back, we had a drink there called a Botticelli. It was delicious then and recently, thinking back to it, we were inspired to try to create it ourselves. This is a softer, more citrusy and complex drink than just a whiskey on the rocks although it is also a stiff sipping cocktail like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. I don’t know what it has to do with the Italian painter Botticelli except that it contains a little bit of Amaretto and some Cardamaro and all are from Italy. We switched out rye for bourbon but kept the name because it is fun to say.
We knew the 4 ingredients but had to guess at the amounts and came up pretty close. The only mistake we made in proportions the first attempt was to add too much Amaretto. It is quite a strong almond flavor and the drink only needs a splash. Cardamaro, on the other hand, is a herbaceous wine-like amaro (that comes in an elegant, long necked bottle, by the way, and makes a refreshing spritz) and is more easily added. Use a bourbon (or rye) that you like because it is the main ingredient. After balancing the liquor, we thought adding lots of fresh lemon juice (and a slice of lemon for a garnish) made the flavor even better. Ultimately, you will find the proportions you like, as is true with all recipes. Cin cin!
- 2 oz of bourbon or rye
- 1/2 oz Cardamaro
- 1 tsp (or just a small splash) Amaretto
- Juice from 1/4 lemon (then add the lemon, or a fresh slice, if you like)
Stir well and pour over ice.