Going downstairs from Picca means trading ceviche for pasta and pisco for amari. Julian Cox developed the Italianate cocktail program with bar manager Kate Grutman. She previously worked with amari at Mozza and Terroni, and harnessed her knowledge in the Sazerac Rusticum ($12), an herbaceous Sazerac variation involving rosemary-infused dry vermouth, and Aperol loaded with wild fennel plus grapefruit, orange and lemon peels. Grappa provides a bright, boozy kick.
One 750-ml bottle Aperol
Fennel fronds from two bulbs
½ fennel bulb, sliced
Zest of 1 medium lemon, divided
Zest of ½ medium orange
Zest of ½ medium grapefruit
One 750-ml bottle Dolin dry vermouth
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 ounce grappa
1 medium lemon
1. In a large glass jar, combine the Aperol, fennel fronds, fennel bulb, ½ of the lemon zest, the orange zest and the grapefruit zest. Seal the jar and set aside to infuse for 6 to 8 days. Strain out the solids and rebottle the liquid. This mixture will keep indefinitely at room temperature.
2. In a large glass jar, combine the vermouth, rosemary and the remaining lemon zest. Let the mixture infuse for 3 to 5 days. Strain out the solids and rebottle the liquid. Keeps at room temperature for 6 months.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine ¼ ounce of the infused vermouth, ¾ ounce of the infused Aperol and the grappa. Add ice and stir until very cold. Rinse a sour glass with Sambuca. Strain the cocktail into the rinsed glass. Peel a strip of lemon peel over the glass. Drop the peel into the glass. Serve.