The Inferno — A Dante Alighieri Inspired Italian-ish Cocktail Recipe

Lately, I’ve been working my way through the classic novels I hadn’t already read. I was reminded of Dante’s Inferno by a classmate that asked “What’s Dante’s last name?” At which point I realized that Dante actually had a last name, and wasn’t mononymous like Plato, or Brutus, or Beyonce–all hail the queen! (His last name is Alighieri, by the way.)

By happenstance (love that word!) I found a copy of The Inferno in Strand Book Store‘s Half-Priced Paperbacks section (love that store!).

In case you haven’t read it since middle school (or ever), it’s a narrative poem about an Italian dude who semi-mistakenly gets sent to hell, and then has to walk through all the different layers of hell to get where he’s supposed to be. There’s lots of allegory and subtweets about 12th century family feuds in Florence. Looks like humanity hasn’t changed a bit in 700 years.

Given that New York in the summer is an actual inferno, cool drinks– cocktails, preferably– are necessary to enjoy reading. Otherwise the humidity will boil your brain, and you’ll never be able to read again. Tragic.

This cooling cocktail is similar to a Negroni, but with a savory, smoky, spicy dimension added.

Here we go:


The Inferno Recipe

You’ll need:

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1 ounce Mezcal

1 ounce Aperol

0.5 ounces sweet red vermouth

1 small, red, Thai chili or 2-4 slices of a large Thai Chili, depending on how spicy you want it. I like all my food spicy, so I used 4. But if you go too cray with the pepper you won’t be able to taste the glorious booze.

Ice


How to Prepare:

Muddle the Thai chili in the bottom of an old fashioned glass. Then add 1 large ice cube or 2-3 smaller-ish ice cubes to the glass. Pour the Mezcal slowly over the ice so it gets chilly. Add the Aperol and sweet red vermouth, then stir vigorously with a bar spoon.

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Now you’ve made yourself an Inferno to cool yourself off and distract yourself in the midst of the flaming dumpster fire that is 2018. Congrats!

Let me know what you think!

Cheers!

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Cacao Prieto Chocolate Factory and Widow Jane Distillery Tour

This weekend I took a tour of the Widow Jane Distillery and the Cacao Prieto Chocolate factory in Brooklyn. People kept falling into chocolate rivers and turning into blueberries.

Nah, this isn’t Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. It’s 1000x more magical because a) there’s amazing handmade chocolate and b) there’s also booze!

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A Night Out in Jersey City

A friend had a guest visiting from London, so of course we had to show the guy the staples of Jersey City. We crammed 3 different locations into one night: Taphaus, Archer and Golden Cicada. Each one represents a different kind of scene or crowds in Jersey City.

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Soy Sauce Chicken Drumsticks and Potatoes… and Wine

This recipe was passed down from my Nana to my mom to me. When my mom was explaining the directions to me over the phone the night before, she remembered that this is how she learned the recipe from her mother too. As far as I know, my family has been making soy sauce chicken drumsticks and potatoes for decades without ever writing down the recipe. As this is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken and I’m a little bit absent-minded, I’ve got to write it down. For posterity.

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Top Ten Liquors from NYC Indie Spirits Expo 2017

This past Wednesday was the Indie Spirits Expo. No, it is not some hipster ghost-worshipping party, as my mom was worried about. It was an opportunity to taste some of the best craft hard liquors in the world. There were some that haven’t even been released for sale in U.S. stores, so this is a pretty big deal. Not to mention we got half-priced tickets through pulsd.

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Here’s the sitch though –does anybody still say that? I must be stuck in the 2000’s– there was too much liquor for me to try without getting wasted, and if I tried to write about it all, you all would be reading an incoherent novel right now. So, after much deliberation, here is my top ten types of booze that I tried at the Indie Spirits Fest. In reverse order, for suspense, ya know.

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NYC Food: Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

This weekend was the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival! Hosted in Hell’s Kitchen, vendors lined about 10 blocks, near the Theatre District. Alex and I went on the last day of the fest.

Here’s what we found:

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Liquor Tasting: Barrel Aged Gin

When I say the word “gin,” what comes to your mind?

Colorless? Dry? Refreshing? Tastes like juniper? Or maybe grass, depending who you ask…

Forget all of that for now.  Barrel aged gin is a whole new, well… barrel of monkeys.

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