A legendary aperitivo from Italy, this Asti native has been made continuously since 1891. It slipped out of broad distribution for years here in the states, leaving cocktail enthusiasts to hunt down this sought after liqueur.

   Cocchi Americano starts with a base of Moscato wine, which is then fortified with brandy and infused with gentian, cinchona bark, citrus and a handful of botanicals in a secret recipe known only by the Cocchi family. It then rests a year in wood prior to bottling. The result is a complex, light and lively combination of traditional bitterness and sublime sweetness. Americano is most commonly consumed simply with a little ice, soda water and a citrus peel or wedge.

   Cocchi Americano is widely believed to be the only thing remotely close to the original Kina Lillet. The classic bitter formula for Lillet was altered in the mid-eighties, dropping the cinchona bark (a bitter Peruvian bark that supplies quinine) and Kina from its name. The result is the softer, and many would say more benign, version of Lillet Blanc that you will find on shelves today.

   Because of its similarities to the retired Kina Lillet formula, Cocchi is now the only proper aperitivo to use in a Corpse Reviver #2, a gin-based drink that features complex and intriguing herbal and citrus flavors. Give it a try:

 

Classic Corpse Reviver #2

   1 oz gin
   1 oz Cointreau
   1 oz Cocchi Americano
   1 oz fresh lemon juice
   1 dash absinthe

   Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir until very cold. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel twist.