Ellen Clifford
December 27, 2014 7:30 am

I always had this fantasy of being the bar badass. The woman in charge. Slinging drinks like a boss. I decided to start learning the art of the cocktail when I was about halfway through college. At the same time, my brother was in law school, and even though he had a huge selection of alcohol, he wasn’t that great of a mixologist (sorry big brother!). So when he graduated, I decided a book as a graduation gift would be good for him. (Secret: And me.) I happened upon Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich. Not only was it compact, macho-esque, and distinguished in appearance, it gave me the opportunity to make a pun when gifting it —as we all know, The Book Cook cannot resist a good bad pun. I believe the card accompanying the book said, “now pass THIS bar exam.”

All of this is to explain that I got myself a copy while I was at it. It’s the ultimate —it covers everything pretty thoroughly, from Angostura bitters to Zombies. I have never tried a Zombie, incidentally. I am lightweight enough without getting into a drink that promises zombify even the average drinker.

In the spirit (haha, spirit! SEE WHAT I DID?) of New Years Eve, I’m giving you the ingredients for JUST the drink to cheers with as the ball drops. It’s simple, it’s impressive, and it’s pretty. This drink involves Champagne, the quintessential potable of New Year’s Eve, and includes bitters, which is just totally fancy pants. Campari was my first and now, from amaro, Fernet, Peychaud’s —I love them all. I realize I am kinda a player when it comes to booze. Cocktail enthusiasts are not required to be monogamous to their beverages, right?

Anyway, with all that said, happy New Year from The Book Cook!

Campari Champagne Cocktail adapted from Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich

  • 1 ounce Campari
  • champagne (I used a sparkling wine)
  • orange peel twist (try to not get any of the white pith with it

To start, make sure you chilled your champagne flutes and champagne in advance. Now, this is hard to wrap your brain around but pour the Campari into the flute. I know. It’s rough. I’ll try to post simpler recipes in the future. Now you are going to top it with Champagne. Pour carefully, it will bubble up rapidly if you aren’t careful. Now take the bit of orange peel, run the orange part around the rim. Twist gently then garnish with it. Sip. Cheers to 2015!

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