This drink is adapted from one Philip Duff served at a cocktail-festival dinner in New Orleans. The dash of absinthe made it delicious with the dish it accompanied: crawfish and spinach spiked with Herbsaint, the anise-flavored liqueur.
When New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian mixes mint juleps, he recites an ode, written in the 1890s by a Kentucky newspaperman, that calls the cocktail “the zenith of man’s pleasure...the very dream of drinks.”
Pleasantly bitter, herb-infused Campari is a bracing aperitif, especially when it’s blended with a little sparkling wine as it is here. Neal Bodenheimer loves how the vivid-red Italian spirit tastes with fennel. “This is a perfect way to use up any leftover fennel fronds from the kitchen,” he says.
“This is like a really fine chocolate truffle that melts in your mouth,” says New Orleans bartender Marvin Allen. He makes this variation on a chocolate martini with nocino, a walnut liqueur produced in Modena, Italy.