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May 30, 2008 09:32 AM

Cocktail with Cynar?

I'm tired of drinking Cynar on the rocks and as a "substitute" for Campari. Anybody have any cool ideas?

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  1. The Washington Post Spirits Columnist (Jason Wilson I heart you!) wrote an article about it a year ago.

    He adapted a cocktail here:

    1 ounce artichoke-flavored liqueur, such as Cynar brand
    1 ounce gin
    1 ounce sweet vermouth
    Dash bitters, either Peychaud or Angostura brand
    2 orange wedges, sliced 1/2-inch thick

    Combine the artichoke-flavored liqueur, gin, sweet vermouth and bitters in a cocktail shaker along with a squeeze of juice from 1 orange wedge. Fill with ice and shake until well chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining orange wedge.

    I personally don't like Cynar, but if you do try this cocktail, could you describe what it tastes like? I might attempt to persuade my local lounge to make it for me...

    3 Replies
    1. re: tizinu

      Mixed something very similar before...tastes a lot like an Americano, which basically makes it a "substitute" for Campari. It's delicious, but I'm looking for something out of the norm.

      Thanks bunches for the Post column.

      1. re: invinotheresverde

        You're right about the Cynar substituting for Campari, but the original (with Campari) would be a Negroni rather than an Americano. Babbo also have a drink called the Cyn-Cin, featuring Cynar and Cinzano as the vermouth. Still pretty much a modified negroni, but with a splash of orange juice I believe.

        Sadly, I don't have any Cynar drink suggestions to add...


    2. Babbo (NYC) used to make a drink they called the Thistle, with Cynar, Stoli O, Cointreau, fresh squeezed OJ. Have had the gin/vermouth/cynar/bitters drink at Vessel (Seattle), it was quite good.

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Had a drink with Rye, Cynar and a house-made citrus syrup (simple syrup and fresh orange, or grapefruit zest)...I think that was it...? very tasty! Next time I'll watch the prep closer to see if there are other ingredients.

        2. I absolutely LOVE Cynar, and I have been playing around with various recipes recently. The best one I've found is the Scorch the Earth, created by a bartender from Atlanta as reported by Gary Regan in a SF paper:

          1.5 Cognac
          .5 Lemon
          .5 Cynar
          Flamed Lemon Peel

          Good stuff.

          6 Replies
          1. re: bza

            Sounds pretty interesting. I'll have to give it a whirl.

            1. re: bza

              Just to correct the record (in case it saves someone else from drinking the recipe above), it's .5 sweet vermouth, not .5 lemon!


              1. re: will47

                ps - A "Little Italy" is similar, and also pretty good.

                Here's one take on it:

                2 oz rye
                1/2 oz Cynar
                3/4 oz sweet vermouth
                2 brandied cherries skewered on a stick
                flamed orange twist

                [stir with ice, serve up]

                1. re: will47

                  I did a twist on a Martinez last night (replacing the Maraschino rather than the bitters), and I think it came out pretty well.

                  2 oz Sweet Vermouth (I used Vya)
                  1 oz Old Tom Gin (I used the Ransom one, which is great) - if you don't have the Old Tom, might want to add some symple syrup
                  1/2 oz Cynar
                  4 dashes Boker's bitters (maybe unnecessary with the Cynar, but I used them anyway)

                  Stir and strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass; flame orange peel on top, and serve with orange twist and / or brandied cherry.

                  The resulting drink is moderately bitter, though I think pretty balanced because of the sweet vermouth and the Old Tom; you could reduce the Cynar if you prefer. I make my Martinezes with the older style proportions (more vermouth than gin), but you could flip those too, or do a mix of dry and sweet.

                  1. re: will47

                    Cynar can add a friendly bitter/vegetal note to a cocktail that can be very welcome as an apéritif, when used judiciously. Try this "kitchen sink" Manhattan sometime to test it out:

                    Kitchen Sink Manhattan
                    3 oz rye
                    1 oz sweet vermouth
                    1/2 oz Cynar
                    1 dash Angostura bitters
                    1 dash Regan's orange bitters
                    1 dash Fee's chocolate bitters
                    Stir & strain into coupe, add orange twist.

                    A Manhattan variant using port and Cynar turns out very well for a mellower sip, so delicious to me that it's now my "eponymous" cocktail:

                    The Rob Marais
                    2 oz rye
                    1 oz ruby port
                    1/2 oz Cynar
                    2 dashes orange bitters
                    Stir & strain into coupe, add orange twist.

                    1. re: marais

                      Your "eponymous" cocktail intrigues; especially the with the introduction port.
                      With Cynar in mind, what are you thoughts on a long, cool fix for the warmer season?

              2. Use it in place of vermouth in a Manhattan, but obviously you should omit the bitters.

                5 Replies
                1. re: tmso

                  I find it to be more enjoyable if you use the cynar instead of the bitters rather than excluding both the bitters and the vermouth. Just use 1/4-1/2 oz of the cynar (depending on how much you like it) and cut down on the vermouth by the same.

                  Tasty stuff... they make something resembling that at Death and Co called a Cynartown, though I believe they have other ingredients and I don't know the ratios... actually, now that i think about it, that's with beefeater gin, not rye. Still a pretty fantastic drink, if anyone knows the recipe, hint hint.

                  1. re: bza

                    Yeah, you can also take that approach. In which case, I'd use French (dry, white) vermouth rather than sweet Italian.

                    I actually cooked up quite a nice Cynar based cocktail this weekend, inspired by the question. One part pastis, two parts Cynar, stirred with ice. Fill a champagne flute half-way with the chilled liqueurs and top with sparkling wine. It went over very well as an aperitif.

                    1. re: tmso

                      That's exactly this type of interesting flavor combo I was looking for.


                    2. re: bza

                      How do you pronounce Cynar?
                      Is it SY-nar, CHY-nar, sin-NAR, or something else?

                      1. re: jerryc123

               Click the "play" triangle.

                        I'd say that's something like CHEE-narr with a tiny bit of soft e at the end, but then I don't speak Italian.