The new ingredient in this drink is Amer Picon. I may not be too familiar with cocktail ingredients, but I have at least heard of gin and rum. I’ve never heard of Amer Picon liqueur, have you? Anyway, part of the fun of trying new recipes is learning new trivia. So, here’s what I’ve learned:
Amer Picon is a bitter-sweet French aperitif. (“Amer” is the French version of the Italian “Amaro,” which translates as “bitter.”) It starts with dried orange peels that are macerated (soaked) in alcohol and then distilled. (This basically creates a flavored vodka.) The distillate is then infused with gentian root and quinquina (to add bitterness), and topped off with sugar (for sweetness) and caramel (for coloring).
The liqueur was created in 1837 by Gaétan Picon who—after contracting malaria while stationed in Algeria—infused alcohol with dried orange zest, gentian, quinine, sugar syrup and caramel before distilling it. Picon, who had apprenticed at French distilleries before joining the army, already knew a bit about chemistry and attributed his recovery to the botanical blend he’d created.
I learned that even if I wanted to buy this liqueur, I couldn’t, because it’s no longer available in America. Because of that, this bartender tried recreating the formula. He basically added some orange tincture (vodka infused with orange peel) and blood orange bitters (a non-alcoholic flavoring) to a bitter liqueur. Since we’re going non-alcoholic, and since we only need 2 dashes, I figure the blood orange bitters will work just fine by itself. Now, let’s see if I can find a jar!
1 ounce white grape juice (instead of rum)
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/4 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1 tablespoon sugar
Shake all the ingredients together with ice and serve in a tall tulip glass.