A Publication of WTVP

Cocktail Class – Ciao Bella

Welcome back to Mixology 101
by Peoria Magazine |
Ciao Bella cocktail

Ciao Bella

The heat is officially gone from outside so we will have to compensate by heating up our insides a bit with the best warming liquid. Bourbon! 

The quintessential American whiskey with many governing laws and myths of origin and definition is a good liquor to turn to as the days get shorter. We turn to this corn-based whiskey — so often consumed neat, on the rocks, or in an Old Fashioned — and we use it as the base of our cocktail today. 

Augmenting with some French liqueurs — we are staying patriotic here, as the French greatly helped our independence with their supplies, sea battles, and previous revolution of their own — we add some herb, spice and fruit notes to this cocktail. This particular drink crosses the line between a sour and a sidecar, with cascading flavors on the finish after a smooth, jammy taste up front.

The French ingredients include a thyme liqueur for specific herbal notes, yellow chartreuse for a variety of alpine spices and herbs that meld well with the bourbon, and creme de cassis to balance out with some sweetness and rich blackcurrant flavor. To balance the entire cocktail, we add lemon juice and a little simple syrup. We are serving this one up, as it needs no dilution from rocks after being shaken. 

On to the cocktail!

First, the TOOLS: For this cocktail you will need a cocktail shaker, a measuring jigger, a hawthorne strainer, and a champagne couple or large martini glass, keeping in mind to chill your glass before use. 

Next, the INGREDIENTS: To the cocktail shaker, add:

  • 1 dash of Crude Rizzo bitters
  • 1 dash plum bitters
  • 1 dash peach bitters
  • 1 dash Old Fashioned bitters
  • .25 oz. simple syrup
  • .75 oz. lemon juice
  • .25 oz. Crème de Cassis
  • .25 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
  • .5 oz. Bigallet Thyme
  • 1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

Finally, the PROCESS: Fill your shaker with ice and shake hard enough to turn the cubes into a bit of slush, roughly 10 to 15 seconds. Use your hawthorne strainer and strain into your prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with three blackberries on a pick (or blackcurrants if you can find them.) 

Sit back and enjoy the Ciao Bella!

Dustin Crawford

Dustin Crawford

is co-owner — with partner Kip Rodier — of the 33 Room in Peoria Heights. Prior to that, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran traveled the world before returning home to work his magic behind the bar at various central Illinois establishments.