Meticulous, market-driven cocktail maven Matt Biancaniello continually innovates in his back corner of the Hollywood Roosevelt's lobby. He recently riffed on the Greyhound, an aromatic cocktail traditionally made with vodka and grapefruit juice. Biancaniello's Italian Greyhound ($16) combined Campari supercharged with Japones pepper, Aperol and passion fruit--crunchy seeds and all. The dried chiles leave a lingering heat on the tip of the tongue.
1 cup dried Japones chiles
One 750-ml bottle Campari
½ cup agave nectar
1 ounce Aperol
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
3 fresh passion fruits (or substitute ½ ounce unsweetened passion fruit purée)
1 whole jalapeño
1. Chop the chiles roughly. Add them to the Campari bottle. Infuse for 1 to 2 days. Strain the peppers and rebottle the infused Campari. Keeps indefinitely at room temperature.
2. Mix together the agave nectar and ½ water. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine the 1 ounce of the spiced Campari, the Aperol, lime juice, ¾ ounce of the agave syrup and pulp of the passion fruits. Shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with the whole jalapeño. Serve.