“I love vinegar-based shrubs in spritzes,” bar director Stacey Swenson explains. “It lightens and brightens them up, brings the flavors forward. I’m a big fan of both shrubs and watermelon.” This variation, brightened with watermelon shrub and a spicy tincture based on Italy’s Calabrian peppers, Swenson describes as a “hyperseasonal summer drink.” She adds that the “bold but not overwhelming” flavors allow Italicus’ nuanced citrus notes to shine through.
Stacey Swenson, Matter House | New York City
- 2 ounces Italicus
- 5 drops Calabrian chile tincture (see Editor’s Note)
- 1 ounce salted watermelon shrub (see Editor’s Note)
- 2 ounces sparkling rosé wine
Garnish: watermelon slice
- In a large wine glass, combine all ingredients over ice.
- Garnish with watermelon slice placed inside glass.
Calabrian Chile Tincture
Break apart 10 dried Calabrian chile peppers and combine with 4 ounces vodka. Allow to sit, covered, at room temperature for two days. Strain and add to a dropper bottle.
Salted Watermelon Shrub
Combine 2 cups of roughly chopped watermelon with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 2 days. After 2 days, muddle the watermelon to release as much juice as possible. Add 2 ounces fresh lemon juice, and strain. Keeps approximately 5 days.