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
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.
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.
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!