Heart Of Darkness Cocktail Recipe From The Sugar House

Detroit has David Kwiatkowski to thank for jump-starting the city's local cocktail culture, via his far-reaching bar, the Sugar House. And we have Kwiatkowski himself to thank for introducing us to our favorite fruit-booze pairing of the year: Fernet and blackberries. He suggests making this punch a day in advance to let the flavors truly marry; he also admits he rarely has the patience to wait that long. For more 2012 Best Cocktails, click here.

Recipe adapted from The Sugar House, Detroit, MI

Heart of Darkness
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Heart of Darkness from The Sugar House, Detroit, MI
  • Blackberry syrup
  • 1 pound blackberries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Cocktail
  • 12 ounces Cruzan Black Strap rum
  • 12 ounces Fernet-Branca
  • 9 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 24 ounces San Pellegrino chinotto
  • Ice
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish
  • Pineapple rings, for garnish
  1. Make the blackberry syrup: In a medium saucepan, add the blackberries and sugar. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle the berries into the sugar until the berries' juices have been extracted. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour to macerate.
  2. Add the water to the pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the syrup into a lidded container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. Make the cocktail: In a punch bowl, combine the rum, Fernet-Branca, lime juice, 6 ounces of the blackberry syrup and chinotto. Stir to combine. Add large ice cubes, mint sprigs and pineapple rings. To serve, ladle 4 ounces of punch into a glass. Garnish with fresh mint.
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