Italian apertivos and digestivos have been beloved by Seattle bartenders for the better part of a decade now. There was a time when the bitter blitz of Campari or Fernet was enough to transport a drinker well beyond city limits. But as any good trend matures it also complicates. Visit most craft cocktail bars in the city and the bartender will claim bitter allegiance to some amaro more precise.
For Percy’s and Co.’s bar director-cum-apothecarist Brody Craig that’s Amaro CioCiaro, “the workhorse of amaros.” It’s traditionally sippable as a digestivo, but bold enough to stand up to other intense ingredients in a cocktail. About twice a year Craig overhauls the cocktail list at Percy’s and for one of his coming creations, CioCiaro was his starting point.
His creative process is based on chainlike flavor links based on his previous cocktails “and I hate to say it, but almost the cocktails I’ve been dreaming about.” For this cocktail the connections went something like this: CioCiaro loves smoked salt; salt loves honey; honey loves lemon; lemon loves gin; gin loves cucumber.
That gin sent him to the office where he has “a little laboratory, tons of bins always steeping with fun ingredients. We’re all about infusions here.”
Thus the still-nameless cocktail in finished form: CioCiaro, cilantro-infused gin, smoked sea salt-infused honey, muddled cucumber, and lemon.
The drink will roll out with the rest of Percy’s new list in a couple weeks.
Just don’t ask the brand of the infused gin: “That’s a proprietary secret.”