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Jackson Cannon, who presides over the bottles at Boston's Eastern Standard restaurant, found that the chinotto was a natural with Laird's Applejack apple brandy, with just a bit of Benedictine as an optional finishing touch.
But far and away, the Italian soda that shows the most promise as a cocktail ingredient is the bittersweet citrus drink called chinotto (pronounced key-NAW-toh).
Try these new drinks and I think you'll be convinced that chinotto should become a cocktail staple.
San Pellegrino makes a chinotto, but there are others, including the excellent version made by the Abbondio soda company.
It reminds me of the nearly impossible to get French liqueur Amer Picon, so I wasn't surprised to find that I had success using chinotto as a fizzy substitute for the amer in a Picon Punch: two ounces of cognac, a spoonful of grenadine, chinotto, and a little club soda for extra sparkle, stirred with ice.
Ted Kilgore at the Monarch restaurant in St. Louis riffed on an old Trader Vic cocktail called El Diablo, putting chinotto on top of tequila, lime juice and crème de cassis.
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