The Brilliante Cocktail is a morning-after variation on the iconic Negroni. I replaced the bitter ingredient, Campari, with brewed coffee. I start with medium-roast whole beans, I grind them with fennel seeds, and then prepare a pot of drip-brewed coffee; the fennel seeds add a slight spicy and vegetal note that the Campari usually provides.
NOTE: To make the fennel-accented coffee, finely grind ½ cup medium-roast coffee beans with 1 teaspoon fennel seeds. Use 3 cups filtered water to drip-brew the coffee. Cool to room temperature for use. Coffee keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
NOTE: Orange and Lemon Zest Coins: The aroma and flavor in citrus fruits is concentrated in the oil cells of the peel. Chefs and bartenders often extract this oil along with the juice to add the essence of the fruit to various dishes and drinks. In cocktails, the oil in the citrus peel provides an additional advantage because it can be flamed.
• Always use firm, fresh fruit: the skin will have a higher oil content.
• Use thick-skinned navel oranges and large lemons; ask your grocer for 95-count (a grocer term to indicate approximate number of pieces in the case) lemons as opposed to juice lemons (which are 165 count).
• Cut thin, uniformly sized oval or round peels, about an inch across. These are called coins by bartenders. If you are just developing confidence and skill with kitchen knives, begin with this easier technique: First cut a ½ iinch nub off each end for the wedges. Place the fruit on the cutting board with one of the cut poles resting on the board. Hold it down firmly on the cutting board and, using the paring knife, cut thin oval-shaped twists about 1 inch by 1. inches long, slicing down toward the cutting board and away from your hand. The peel should be thin enough that the yellow shows all around the circumference, with just a small amount of white pith visible in the center. This type of peel will maximize the amount of oil expressed into the drink and minimize the amount of bitter white pith on the twist. Cut twists in a downward motion from the middle of the fruit to the bottom, following the curve of the fruit and turning the fruit after each cut until you have circled the fruit completely. Then turn the fruit over and perform the same operation on the other half. Navel oranges should yield 12 twists. If the large, fancy lemons are not available, choose the largest lemons available and be sure the skin is fresh, firm, and full of oil (as the fruit dries out, the skin will feel softer and have much less oil).
- Build the three ingredients in a double old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Stir to chill and marry the three ingredients. Garnish with the orange zest coin.
Reprinted with permission from The New Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff copyright © 2020. Photographs by Daniel Krieger. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.