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Cheers! A cocktail for the holidays

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Giancarlo Aversa is principle bartender at The Last Word craft cocktail bar in Ann Arbor.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
"Mulling Around Town" is a cocktail created by The Last Word's Giancarlo Aversa. It's inspired by the Negroni and the Boulevardier cocktails.

“It’s like Christmas in a glass,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings.

She’s talking about a cocktail invented by the principle bartender at The Last Word craft cocktail bar in Ann Arbor, Giancarlo Aversa.

He says the cocktail is “a cocktail based off of the Boulevardier which is a cocktail based on the Negroni.” All of them include sweet vermouth and Campari, a bitter sweet liqueur that can be used as a before dinner aperitif. “It’s bracingly bitter,” Coxen says, adding, “Many people really come to love it.”

Aversa named his drink “Mulling Around Town” because it uses mulling spices. “It’s playing off of the idea of a mulled wine,” Aversa said. Mulling spices often include cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, star anise, and dried orange rind. Aversa says you can find packages of mulling spices at Whole Foods or your local dry goods store.

He steeps bourbon with the mulling spices, to complement the other two ingredients and give it a distinct holiday season appeal.

For the cocktail he mixed for “Cheers” on Stateside, he used Traverse City Whiskey Company’s bourbon.

Mulling Around Town recipe

1 oz. mulled bourbon  (Traverse City Whiskey Co.)

1 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)

1 oz. Campari

Pour ingredients into mixing glass. Add ice. Stir for about 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass. Add orange peel garnish.

Mulled bourbon recipe

Use one tbsp. mulling spices per one cup of bourbon. Let steep for one hour. Taste. If a stronger flavor is desired, steep for an additional hour, but no longer. Strain out mulling spices using fine mesh strainer.

Stateside originally broadcast this story on Dec. 16, 2016.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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