We wanted to bring something new to the Perfect Pairings for this Mexico issue, so we got in touch with Andi Cruzatti, the GM at The Corner, a Miami bar known for — among other things — its inventive cocktails and asked her to come up with something Mexican-inspired that we would pair with a cigar. Andi came through with this sweet, low-ABV twist on the Fernet and Coke.
How it’s done
Before making the cocktail, you’ll need to spend a little time at your stove. That’s because the recipe calls for a syrup made by reducing Mexican Coca-Cola, which will yield a sweet syrup since Mexican Coke is made with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. This stuff will keep for quite a while, so consider making more than you’ll use in one sitting. Or invite a bunch of friends over to try out the drink.
Once you’ve got your syrup made (Andi adds brandied cherries to hers, but you don’t have to go that far), you’ll add all these ingredients to a shaker:
- 3/4 oz. Fernet-Branca
- 1/4 oz. Amaro-Vallet
- 1/4 oz. Cynar 70-proof
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 oz. Mexican Coca-Cola reduction
Add ice, shake well, then pour into a rocks glass through a strainer and add a few new ice cubes to the glass.
We showed up at The Corner with several cigar options to taste alongside this cocktail. There’s a lot going on here. The Fernet brings a bitterness that makes the Midnight in Jalisco crisp, but then there’s that heavy, syrupy sweetness that comes from the Mexican Coke reduction and (in the case of Andi’s reduction) brandied cherries. What’s more, the syrup makes it so these flavors — especially the sweetness — all linger on your palate and build sip after sip. To say this has “a long finish” is underselling it.
All of which means we needed a cigar that was big and creamy enough to stand up to the sheer texture of the cocktail, peppery enough to offset the sweetness, and chocolatey enough to complement the bitter and cherry sweet notes. We found all that in The Tabernacle by Nicholas Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Co.; its Broadleaf wrapper and Mexican binder bring the peppery sweetness we were looking for while its leather and wood finish lasts long enough to mingle with the cocktail’s Coke reduction.
Cocktail by: Andi Cruzatti