Earlier this summer, my coworkers and I gathered on the roof of Eataly to toast the solstice and check out the recently opened rooftop restaurant and brewery Birreria. Eataly's Beverage Director Dan Amatuzzi had developed a few special cocktails for the occasion. One of them was made with Chinotto, an intriguingly bitter, cola-like Italian soda made from myrtle-leaved orange, along with basil, lime, gin, and a sparkling wine float. This was my kind of cocktail. Bittersweet, effervescent, and herbal, it fended off the heat of the early evening sun. It even paired wonderfully with the Italian cheese plate we dug into as the sun set on the pink city skyline.
Determined to recreate the magic of this drink, I got the recipe from Dan Amatuzzi and mixed it up here in the SAVEUR test kitchen. Even without the rooftop view and solstice sunset, this drink hit the spot for our summer Friday afternoon. Each coworker I passed a glass to vehemently agreed; we've dubbed it the Sotto Chinotto for its gentle rejuvenating effect. Now that I know just how easy this drink is to make, I'm going to keep serving it at home all summer long. There's no fancy mixology involved — you just have to find some Chinotto. San Pellegrino makes a good one, as does Lurisia. Pick some up at your local gourmet food store (or at Eataly, if you happen to be in New York City.)