Serranos with Ryan

Welcome to what will hopefully be the first, in a series of posts, on fine drinking in Durban, around South Africa and even a bit from around the world. In the coming weeks, I’ll be rambling in my own peculiar way about great drinks, the places I’ve had them and even how to make them yourself. I’ll be running these posts in conjunction with my blog, which you can view at Tales of an African Bartender – what can I say, I like to keep readers on their toes.

We’ll chat about how to have great drinks at your next dinner party (yes, you can do better than that bottle of JC Le Roux and a case of beer) and what you should look for when picking that next bottle of wine or whisky. But we’ll always try and keep it light and not too serious or pretentious. I think while drinking is a serious business, at the end of the day the ultimate drink for any of us is simply one that we enjoy shared with good people. And if I’m ever in danger of becoming too nerdy about something, feel free to sit me down (preferably over a beer and a shot of Bourbon) and remind me of this, but don’t think we’re going to be talking Strawberry Daiquiri’s and Long Island Ice Tea’s here. Banish those drinks (and their sickly sweet, badly made partners in crime) from your mental cocktail dictionary.

In the meantime however, here is a recipe for The Serrano. Created by Tony Abou-Ganim, one of America’s top bartenders. The Serrano is a delightfully vibrant, citrus based drink that sweetens out its Campari factor a little with the addition of another Italian liqueur, Limoncello. Both of these products are quite commonly available in most good liquor stores, although you might want to take a trip to your local Italian Deli for some great Limoncello’s.

The Serrano

Tony Abou-Ganim, 2010 

35ml vodka
15ml Campari
15ml limoncello
35ml fresh orange juice

Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe/martini
Garnish: lime twist

Combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

The Serrano makes use of Campari, one of my favourite products. Now Campari, is a bitter orange aperitif from Italy and is definitely not to everyone’s taste as it is extremely bitter, but trust me, it’s worth acquiring a taste for. One of my pet subjects is drinking the right thing at the right time (but we’ll come back to that) and in my opinion, very few things come close to Campari as the ideal pre-dinner drink. From here on in “we don’t drink pink drinks”. Well maybe a few, but they’re liable to surprise even the shiny-headed Windhoek guy and definitely don’t taste like juice. 

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