Let me start by saying that I’m really not crazy about this drink’s name even though I’m the one who made it up. Three weeks ago, however, I posted a cocktail called Love’s Bitter Revenge whose flavor was (you guessed it) on the bitter side. It wasn’t really that I was being cynical about love, but rather that I wanted to pair Lillet Rouge, Cynar, and DRAM black bitters together with Bluecoat gin. I wanted today’s drink to be just the opposite of that and so I needed the name to reflect it. The word revenge has very few antonyms, just so you know. In any event, I wanted Love’s Sweet Forgiveness to have a different flavor profile while keeping the base ingredients (the Bluecoat and Lillet) the same. As luck would have it, I just received two new liqueurs from Sukkah Hill Spirits and this gave me the perfect opportunity to give one of them a try.
Sukkah Hill is a small spirits producer from California that makes 2 handcrafted liqueurs from natural, non-GMO ingredients. Both are lovely, but the spicy Besamim with its vanilla, clove and cinnamon notes was absolutely perfect for what I was trying to accomplish with today’s cocktail. Bluecoat gin is juicy, yet so well-balanced; it provides the perfect backbone for the fruitiness of the Lillet Rouge. For the citrus component of the drink I went with Cara Cara orange juice once again because it compliments the orange streak that runs through the Lillet so well. I swapped out the Cynar for the Besamim, which brought a sweet, spicy warmth to the cocktail without overpowering it. The final element to any drink for me is always the bitters, whether to use them and, if so, which ones to choose. I wanted to lighten the drink so I felt as though the DRAM black bitters would be too deep and dark. I went with the Citrus Medica instead, which is DRAM’s version of orange bitters, bright and lifting. As for the garnish, there’s no need for a broken heart on this one.
There are 2 sides to love, one that is beautiful and bright, and another that can be darker and more difficult. Sometimes it’s only a small change that makes it turn from one to the other. It’s the same with cocktails; changing just 2 ingredients results in a totally new drink. Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a celebration of love in its brightest form. I wish you all a wonderful day!
Love’s Sweet Forgiveness
1½ oz Bluecoat Gin
1 oz Lillet Rouge
½ oz Sukka Hill Spirits Besamim liqueur
1 oz Cara Cara orange juice (substitute Blood orange or regular)
1 dash DRAM Citrus Medica bitters
Add all the ingredients to the bottom half of a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds or until well-chilled. Double strain into a Nick & Nora glass and garnish with an orange heart (or orange strip). Enjoy!