Susan Avery has been pouring comfort from behind the bar at Café Europa since it opened eight years ago. A botanical alchemist, Avery shares her Smoke and Salvation. A relative of the Manhattan, the cocktail came about when one of the café’s favorite after-work guests brought in a bottle of cherry-bark bitters for Avery because she knew Avery would be inspired.
“She likes bourbon and I had a new bottle of Luxardo Maraschino,” Avery says. “It just happened.”
At Europa, Avery now makes her own bitters starting with a classic orange bitters recipe, then infuses it a second time with wild cherry bark.
“The name Smoke and Salvation was inspired by an exciting day of mowing at my farm. There were high winds from the south and lots of dry underbrush. A small spark. You can make up the rest,” Avery says.
Although perfect as a traditional aperitif, she says “This drink is excellent with chocolate, especially our pastry chef Anna Morrow’s Chocolate Chess pie. But it’s also nice as a cocktail on its own, especially after a rough day of putting out fires.”
Smoke and Salvation
21/4 ounces Four Roses bourbon
1/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 ounce Amaro Montenegro
1/4 ounce Carpano Antica 1786 vermouth
3 splashes of cherry-bark bitters
Juice of one orange wedge
1 orange twist
Combine the bourbon, Maraschino, Montenegro and vermouth and pour over ice. Add three splashes of the bitters, squeeze over the orange juice, stir and garnish with the twist. To expedite making this cocktail and to serve in larger quantities, Avery premixes equal parts of Luxardo, Amaro and the vermouth, then she simply adds a ¾ ounce of the mixture to the 2¼ ounces of bourbon, garnishes and serves.