Meleto Highball

Stacey Swenson | Pisellino, New York City

Although she admits it isn’t low in alcohol, Stacey Swenson, of aperitivo bar Pisellino in Manhattan, says that the Japanese highball feels as if it’s low-ABV in spirit. It’s from this structure that she began working on the Meleto Highball, a soft, elegant take on the whiskey-based classic. “The soft fruit and spice notes of L’Aperitivo Nonino need to be balanced with like flavors, so as not to overpower its elegant subtleties,” says Swenson. To the L’Aperitivo base she adds Japanese whisky, a dose of tart, fresh apple, spiced honey, lemon and a dry cider topper. Altogether, the Meleto (which means “apple orchard” in Italian) evokes an autumn afternoon outdoors.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/4 ounces  L’Aperitivo Nonino Botanical Drink
  • 3/4 ounce Japanese whisky (preferably Toki or Akashi)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh-pressed Granny Smith apple juice (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 ounce clove honey (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • light, dry apple cider, to top

Garnish: three paper-thin apple wheels

  1. Build in a Collins glass over ice and stir gently.
  2. Garnish with apple wheels fanned out on the inside of the glass
Editor's Note

Juice the Granny Smith apple immediately before making the cocktail, or it will oxidize and turn brown.

Clove honey
6 ounces water
½ cup honey
several cloves

Heat water in small saucepan on the stove until it boils, then reduce to lowest setting. Add cloves and let infuse for 5 minutes. Stir in honey, then strain to remove cloves.