This beautiful drink tastes like a tequila Negroni
Quick, name a cocktail made with tequila. The Margarita, you say? Yeah, everybody knows that one. And maybe The Tequila Sunrise. But after that . . . ?
Well, meet the Rosita Cocktail: A colorful tequila-powered sipper that’s overflowing with flavor.
The Rosita is delicious enough all by itself. But because we’re publishing on April 1st this year, we’re giving you a second cocktail, as a special bonus. It’s the perfect drink for April Fool’s Day. You won’t want to miss it, so read on.
Recipe: The Rosita Cocktail
The Rosita combines tequila with Campari, sweet vermouth, and dry vermouth (plus a dash of Angostura bitters). In appearance and taste profile, it resembles the Negroni Cocktail (which, in case you’ve forgotten, consists of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin).
We learned about The Rosita from Robert Hess. The history of this drink is a bit confused, but it was probably popularized by Gary Regan. More in the Notes.
You can serve this drink over ice in a rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass or “up” in a cocktail glass. The recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves 1.
- 1½ ounces tequila, preferably silver (or blanco—see Notes)
- ½ ounce Campari liqueur
- ½ ounce sweet vermouth (aka Italian vermouth, the red stuff)
- ½ ounce dry vermouth (aka French vermouth, the white/clear stuff)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- lemon twist for garnish (optional, but festive looking)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass that is half-filled with ice. Stir briskly.
- Strain either into an ice-filled rocks glass or into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s been chilled). Garnish, if you wish, with a lemon twist. Serve and enjoy.
- If you’re serving this drink in a rocks glass, you don’t actually need to use a mixing glass. Instead, you can simply pour the ingredients into the ice-filled rocks glass and give them a quick stir to combine. Then garnish with a twist, of course.
- Gary Regan likes to make this drink with a full ounce of Campari (instead of half an ounce). We think the drink tastes too “hot” that way, but you may prefer it.
- Tequila has become increasingly popular in recent years—though not so much in cocktails. Instead, a lot of today’s action involves sipping fine reposado or añejo tequilas.
- When it comes to cocktails, we like to use a silver (also known as blanco) tequila, preferably one made with 100% agave. Silver tequila tends to be less smooth than reposado or añejo, but the rougher taste makes it perfect for mixed drinks, in our opinion. Your taste may vary.
- What brand to use? We like Jose Cuervo Tradicional, which you can find in just about any liquor store. Lately, we’ve also been using the Tres Agaves brand—and it has become a real favorite.
- Reminder: We’re noncommercial and are not compensated for recommending brands. We suggest what we like (and buy with our own money).
- Campari is a red-hued Italian liqueur with bitter flavor. Some people enjoy it over ice or with soda water before dinner. We tend to prefer using it as a cocktail ingredient.
- Like Campari, vermouth can also be consumed as an apéritif. The sweet (red) variety is often associated with Italy, while the dry (white or clear) kind is associated with France. Martini & Rossi makes both sweet and dry vermouths, and both are good. We also like Noilly Prat for dry vermouth.
- BTW, vermouth is a fortified wine with a fairly low alcohol content. Which means an open bottle will eventually oxidize, losing considerable quality in the process. We always store opened bottles of vermouth in the refrigerator, which greatly retards the oxidization process.
- As is the case with many cocktails, the origins of this one are obscure. As noted above, we discovered it in a video by Robert Hess, who says he found it in a GQ magazine article by Terry Sullivan. When Hess asked Sullivan how he knew about it, Sullivan couldn’t immediately remember. He eventually determined that he had seen it in Gary Regan’s book, The Bartender’s Bible. Regan had totally forgotten about the drink, however. In fact, he thought he had learned about it from Sullivan! Ultimately, it turned out that Regan had found the drink in the 1988 edition of Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide, which he had used while researching his Bible. But who knows where Mr. Boston found it? Regan changed the drink slightly, adding more tequila, along with Angostura bitters.
- The Rosita Cocktail would be a wonderful drink for Cinco de Mayo (especially if you’re looking for an alternative to the tried-and-true Margarita). It also makes an excellent before-dinner drink during the warm-weather months.
- Searching for other cocktails that contain tequila? Well, some possibilities include the Paloma, the Diablo, the Frostbite, and the Prado. Eventually, we’ll get to all of them.
April Fool’s Drink
“This Rosita is gorgeous,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Nothing foolish about it.”
“No, for that we need to make a Croton Cocktail,” I said. “Or a Croton Highball variation.”
“Croton?” asked Mrs K R. “As in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where we used to live?”
“Indeed,” I said. “Home of the fabled Croton dam.”
“Right, the original dam was finished in 1842—and created the first reservoir for New York City,” said Mrs K R. “The city still uses water from an enlarged version of the reservoir, via the New Croton Aqueduct.”
“Correct. And this cocktail was named in honor of Croton’s contribution to public health,” I said. “The drink was developed soon after New York started getting pure, clear water from the reservoir.”
“Is it a difficult drink to make?” asked Mrs K R.
“I’ll let you judge for yourself,” I said. “For the highball version, you put some ice in a tall glass. Then add water, preferably from the Croton reservoir. Garnish with a lemon twist, and serve.”
“And how about the cocktail version?” asked Mrs K R. “I suppose you shake water with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass?”
“You’ve got it,” I said.
“Sounds refreshing,” said Mrs K R. “Not to mention economical.”
“Right, so we can afford to invite all our readers to our next April Fool’s Day party,” I said. “We’ll ask them each to bring a dish.”
“And we’ll provide the cocktails,” said Mrs K R. “Perfect.”
Happy April Fool’s Day!
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