My friend Ron brought this drink to my attention. He sent me a text one night with the recipe. Equal parts Cynar, Campari, Fernet, pinch of salt and a grapefruit twist? Come on, that's just not even fair. Since then it's become a staple around the house and the sort of thing I find myself making when I can't figure out exactly what I want.
It turns out that the Bottecchia is in Gaz Regan's Negroni book, previously discussed here. I am taking the fact that I missed this drink the first time through as a cue to revisit the recipe section. I remember that book being full of great looking drinks.
The Bottecchia was created by Kevin Burke and riffs on the Negroni by subbing Fernet for gin (!) and Cynar for the sweet vermouth. Add a pinch of salt and twist a grapefruit peel across the top and you're in business. In the notes accompanying the drink Burke explains the name, "We named the drink after Ottavio Bottecchia, a young professional cyclist who won the Tour de France in 1924 and wore the yellow jersey for the entire race (15 consecutive days). His life was cut short when he was found dead in 1927 of unknown causes. He was a known socialist and his politics put him in unpopular company."
There's grapefruit on the nose and that follows through on the sip. This one is nice, dark, and rich. The bitter trifecta gets tamed a bit by the salt. It's still bitter but the salt does manage to tone that element down allowing the darker qualities of the Fernet and Cynar to really come through and drive this thing. This drink, like the Negroni, is incredibly malleable. It's great on it's own but I've also thrown whiskey, gin, mezcal and Jamaican rum into the mix (on separate occasions) and the results have always been gratifying.
Bottecchia - Kevin Burke, Colt & Gray, Denver, CO
1 oz Fernet
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Campari
1 small pinch kosher salt
Grapefruit Twist - express and discard
Stir without ice to dissolve salt, then with ice. Strain. Serve up.