Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The Yellowtail. Not to be confused with the fish of the same name; there’s nothing fishy about this drink.

When I was in Philadelphia several weeks ago, I stopped in at The Mildred, a new restaurant that, in addition to a fine American menu, features a bar with a fine repertoire of classic cocktails.

As soon as I saw the real maraschino cherry in my Old Fashioned  - not one of those radioactive Red Dye #2-infused horrors - I knew I was in the right place.

The mixologist, one Dominic by name, not only made an excellent Old Fashioned, but also a superb Sazerac, seasoning the glass with heinously powerful Abyss absinthe.  And he also made me one of these bittersweet beauties:

The Yellowtail

1¾ oz rye whiskey
½ - ¾ oz Averna
½ oz Luxardo maraschino
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir in cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The ingredient that distinguishes this baby from its cousins is the Averna, one of a class of bittersweet Italian herbal concoctions known as amari (singular: amaro).  It’s a medium amaro, not quite as bitter as fernet, but with a lot more punch than its juvenile German cousin Jägermeister.  A shot of Averna is a perfect digestif after a big meal... better than Bromo-Seltzer any day. 

Like any cocktail in which bitters are not merely a bit player, this is not anything like those kiddie faux-Martinis that have recently overpopulated the Tipple-Circuit.  If your taste runs to appletinis and Cosmopolitans, perhaps you’d better look elsewhere - this drink will scrape the fuzz off a Fuzzy Navel and set fire to it.

When I think “yellowtail,” I’m usually ordering sushi.  But I have a suspicion that I will be ordering a few more of these bad boys down the road.


El Capitan said...

I'm glad you mentioned that drink included lemon peel.

For a second there, I thought there was a Cheetoh floating in your cocktail...

Elisson said...

I see how you might think that's a Chee-to, Cappy... which makes me think that there must be a drink out there for which a Chee-to would be an appropriate garnish. Perhaps a Filthy Dirty Martini?