The Italian Job Cocktail
► by Stephane Domenge of Scarlet
This bitter-sweet drink made with orange-flavoured, herbal Italian Aperol is one of mixologist and owner Stephane Domenge’s handful of specials on the extensive cocktail menu at Scarlet Restaurant.
— Photography: Kenneth Theysen
The chic and intimate bistro is known for its classic and unique cocktails: while Stephane respects traditional recipes for the classics (and makes a stellar off-menu Salty Dog), he’s also inspired by what’s around him - he created this drink with the surplus Seville oranges from his mother-in-law’s backyard. The local fruit isn’t sweet like its Navel and Valencia cousins, but it’s incredibly aromatic and flavourful. “They’re very bitter and that’s a nice flavour that goes perfectly with Aperol and gin”, he says.
While the Seville orange season is short, the tree bore so much fruit that Stephane sliced and dried much of the harvest in his dehydrator. “The dehydrated slices are very pretty because the skin on the orange is yellow and green and the pulp is light orange”, he says. His wife turned half of the slices into Christmas decorations, adding a colourful counterpoint to white-painted branches sprinkled with orange glitter, while he used the other half for garnishing this drink. The slices are so paper-thin that light can partially pass through them like a lampshade, letting guests take in the restaurant’s 20-foot bar and banquettes through their own edible kaleidoscope. If you don’t happen to dehydrate your own orange slices, a fresh slice of orange to garnish works just fine.
The Italian Job
Makes 1 cocktail
¾ oz. gin
¾ oz. Aperol
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1 slice of Seville orange, to garnish
Muddle the fresh orange slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Add the gin, Aperol and grapefruit juice.
Add ice and shake to blend.
Strain into a 12-oz glass filled with ice.
Top up with Prosecco and garnish with a dehydrated orange slice.
TIPS FROM THE PRO
Muddling the orange pieces releases the juices and essential oils from the orange zest and pulp.
You can replace the Prosecco with Champagne, but it will become The French Job, which is far less catchy.
The French Job (variation)
Makes 1 cocktail
1 part gin
1 part Aperol
1 thick slice of Seville orange
1 splash of grapefruit juice
Top up with Champagne
Muddle the fruit, add the rest of the ingredients.
Shake and strain into a long tall glass full of ice, then top up with Champagne.
Add a slice of Seville orange as decoration.