Tuesday, January 3, 2012

La Strega Felice (The Happy Witch)

La Strega Felice
(The Happy Witch)

1.5 oz. Vinas de Oro Pisco (their floral/aromatic Italia varietal)
.75 oz. Liquore de Strega
Bar Spoon (1/8 oz.) Torrani Orgeat Syrup*
.5 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Egg White
Dry Shake for 20 seconds
Add ice; shake again with ice for another 20 seconds
Fine-strain into a small, chilled Coupe glass
Long Orange Twist for garnish (cut over top of cocktail so that the oils from orange peel coat the top of the drink)
Angostura bitters in center of foamy cocktail, using an eye-dropper; swirl

The floral, aromatic qualities of Oro Pisco Italia plays very well with the fennel, mint, and saffron notes found in the Strega liqueur.  I used a Quebranta pisco at first, but found that the Italia varietal really makes the cocktail sing.  The Torrani orgeat syrup* adds subtle sweetness and a beautiful hint of almond that dances around nicely with the fresh orange juice.  I used a bar spoon, but you can add up to 1/4 oz with good results.  Fresh lime adds acidity and creates balance, while the egg white lends a silky, airy texture to the completed drink.  A few dashes of aromatic bitters on top of the foamy cocktail and the oil from a long twist of orange ties it all together.  Cheers!

* Note on orgeat:  If using a different brand of orgeat that is much less sweet (such as the excellent, all-natural Small Hand Foods brand that I used at home when creating the drink) you'll want to use more (up to .5 oz based on personal taste preferences).  The Torrani brand we use at the bar is pretty sweet stuff, so a bar spoon (approx. 1/8 oz.) goes a long way.  It adds plenty of almond flavor and the perfect amount of sweetness for a tart yet balanced cocktail.  Some folks may need a tad more orgeat (up to 1/4 oz).  Torrani is a decent, readily available brand that can be found at several retail outlets throughout the country.    

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