This is one of the house's signature cocktails at the fabulous Petrossian Bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, one of our favorite bars anywhere. Nice atmosphere, incredibly expert (and friendly) bartenders, and a commitment to high quality that exists in few other places. You pay for it, but it's worth every penny.

I tend to drink long drinks far more infrequently than I do cocktails, but this one's worth drinking anytime you can get (or make) it. It's got a lovely balance of sweet and bitter, the bitter coming from the addition of a nonalcoholic bitter soda from Italy called Sanbittèr. It's an aperitif soda akin to a nonalcoholic version of Campari and soda, created for those Italians who love their bitter aperitifs but who want to avoid alcohol. Another hint of bitterness comes from the addition of, what else, Angostura bitters.

This cocktail was created by Delos Benedict, and was the winning drink in the 1999 National Angostura Drink Contest. Here's my very close approximation.

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake vigorously until very cold. Strain into a highball or similar long drink glass that's been 2/3 filled with ice. Garnish with long orange and lemon twists or orange wheels, cherries, etc.


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Chuck Taggart   email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com