Superstar cocktail creator Carlo Splendorini is no stranger to those familiar with the world of exotic drinks. He helped establish the Michelin-starred restaurant Michael Mina as a front-runner in San Francisco’s cocktail scene while racking up prizes in national and international competitions. For this Valentine’s Day, he offers up some twists using balsamic vinegar as an ingredient. Definitely some recipes for those looking for something out of the ordinary this Valentine’s holiday.
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
1 sugar cube soaked in good quality balsamic vinegar, such as Acetum Santorini Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
1/2 oz. rum
orange peel (garnish)
Soak the sugar cube in the vinegar and place at the bottom of a champagne flute. Add the rum and slowly top with Champagne. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
1 1/2 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. spiced pear puree (or pear nectar with a sprinkle of cinnamon)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. blood orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) chestnut balsamic vinegar, such as I Legni Chestnut Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
1 tablespoon whisked egg white (or 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites)
1 piece star anise (garnish)
Shake ingredients together without ice for a few seconds to blend well. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds more. Strain into a wine glass and float a piece of star anise on top.
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. gin
2 tablespoons strawberry puree or finely crushed fresh strawberries
1 ½ teaspoons (1/4 oz.) fig infused balsamic vinegar, such as F.lli Gorrieri Fig Balsamic
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Aperol or Campari
Pink and black peppercorns (garnish)
Combine ingredients into a shaker tin with ice, shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain into a Champagne coupe, garnish with a kiss of freshly ground pink and black pepper on top.