Venice is a unique city. Nicknamed "La Serenissima" ("the most serene" in Italian), there are many reasons it is on many people's travel bucket lists. Having returned from a recent trip where Ms. Cocktail Den and I got caught in historic acqua alta (high water) and flooding, Venice is the inspiration for this original creation for the new year.
1.5 ounces Aperol
1 ounce vodka
.5 ounces Campari
Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with the serenity of watching life go by on the Grand Canal, and strain into a chilled glass.
Aperol and Campari are Italian amari (bitter liqueurs), and bottles of them are in bars everywhere in Venice. Campari, an indispensable part of cocktails such as the classic Negroni and my original Cancer Killer #1, has a stronger taste and is more bitter than Aperol, featured in drinks such as the Naked and Famous. That's why the Venetian Kiss has more Aperol than Campari. So why does it have vodka? There's nothing inherently Italian or Venetian about vodka. I included vodka because the Russian word literally means "little water," and it is a tribute to the water that surrounds Venice and frequently floods the city. In addition, it brings balance and subtle potency to the Venetian Kiss.
The 3:2:1 ratio of the ingredients gives the Venetian Kiss elegance in its simplicity. Its name may remind of you of the Almost Red Lips Rye, and its color may remind you of pink drinks such as the Cosmopolitan and my original Italian Sunrise. Have a Venetian Kiss, and savor liquid serenissima!