“More than anything else, it just needs to have a good amount of complexity,” says bartender Greg Best of a successful aperitif. Best and his contemporaries boast impressive credentials for creating such recipes, having developed a series of highly compelling, low-alcohol drinks for Atlanta’s Ticonderoga Club. A Scented Stretch is one such drink. Built on a base of white rum, it gets its sweetness from honey syrup and St-Germain, and its acidity from lemon juice and a shot of crisp white wine. A splash of soda water and an aromatic sprig of Thai basil lengthen the cocktail without sacrificing flavor, making the drink a steady, low-proof “pace car cocktail” to keep your night cruising.
- 1 ounce Holland style white rum
- 3/4 ounce strained lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce St-Germain
- 1/2 ounce crisp white wine, preferably grüner veltliner or Sancerre
- 1/4 ounce honey syrup (3:1, honey:water)
- 1 ounce soda water
Garnish: Pinch of flaky salt, such as Maldon, lemon wheel, small sprig of Thai basil
- Combine all of the ingredients except the soda water in a Collins glass over crushed ice.
- Add the soda water and stir gently.
- Garnish with the salt, lemon wheel and Thai basil.