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Il Duce Cocktail Recipe

Il Duce Cocktail Recipe

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The combination of Cocchi Americano and Aperol in this rye-based drink, on the menu at New York's Betto, makes it an ideal apéritif. Plus, the float of prosecco gives it a light, effervescent quality.


  • Slice of pineapple
  • 1 ½ ounces Rittenhouse rye
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • ½ ounce Cocchi Americano
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • Ice
  • Prosecco, to top


In a mixing glass, add a slice of pineapple and the remaining ingredients, except for the prosecco. Shake thoroughly then double strain using a Hawthorne strainer for the mixing cup and a tea strainer over the chilled coupe glass. Top with the prosecco.

Cocktails and Confessions Episode 2: Pomegranate Vodka Gimlet

Happy Friday, friends! Let’s talk vodka gimlets and assless chaps.

We shall start with the former, as that seems like the more civilized approach. The gorgeous cocktail that you see on your screen is a simple update on an old classic that should be added to your repertoire ASAP. Traditionally, a gimlet is vodka (or gin, but ew) and Rose’s lime juice shaken with ice and strained into a coupe glass. It’s very Mad Men chic. This version swaps fresh lime juice for Rose’s (to give things extra zip) and incorporates a splash of pomegranate juice and pomegranate arils for tart-sweetness and visual sass. It’s light and festive, yet delightfully strong, and it’s perfect for winter entertaining.

Too aggressive? Sorry. It’s Friday, and I’m particularly excited to share the second installment of Cocktails and Confessions with all of you. In this week’s episode, I discuss my affinity for vodka and its consequences before teaching you to make the perfect Pomegranate Vodka Gimlet. There are epic dance moves and mild indecent exposure involved…

p.s. When I told my mom that I made a YouTube video about getting drunk and splitting my pants, she responded, “Which time?” Touché, mother.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

How Sweet Eats makes this brunch favorite even more delicious by using heirloom tomatoes when they’re at their peak. It’s a thousand times more refreshing than the bottled or boxed mix you might be used to and will give you serious spiked gazpacho vibes.

Chicago, Illinois

It won’t take long between tapping away in what used to be Al Kapone’s favourite jazz club (Green Mill), or hitting up the historic speakeasies and pubs of Old Town before you realise just how incredibly diverse and exceptional Chicago’s hospitality industry is. This is a city that sat at the heart of the seminal prohibition era, and has since sprung a collection of bars that can be counted amongst the very best in the country. Modern small bars that pay homage to the city’s history are commonplace, and just about every neighbourhood you can find, along with flashy hotel bars and rustic greasy spoons. There is no shortage of places to drink here, which is why the mixology is held to such a high, and competitive, standard.

Want a taste? Recreate the following at home so that when travel to the US is once again on the cards, you can hop around Chicago’s skyline like a pro.

“Walk Softly” from Bar Kumiko

One of the quintessential cocktail spots in the West Loop, Bar Kumiko is the classy mod-Japanese joint you demand from a city with such high hospitality standards as Chicago. The elegant venue opened back in 2018 and has since been one of the most popular bars in the area, intimate and fully committed to technique. Try master their gentle “Walk Softly” for an east-meets-west burst of flavour.

– 0.5 ounce (14ml) simple syrup
– 0.5 ounce (14ml) lemon juice
– 0.75 ounce (21ml) Dolin Dry Vermouht
– 0.5 ounce (14ml) yuzushu
– 1.5 ounce (42ml) Suntory Haku Vodka

1. Combine in a shaker tin.
2. Shake until chilled and aerated.
3. Fine strain into a chilled coupe.
4. Finish with a splash of Champagne and a lemon twist.

“It’s a Jungle Out There” from The Violet Hour

Photo by Eden Laurin

Bartender Evangeline Avila from The Violet Hour is one of several mixologists that make this Wicker Park favourite one of the bars in Chicago. Not only is it located in a perennially trendy neighbourhood, but since the mid-00’s has been referenced as one of the pioneers of Chicago’s cocktail revival. The pre-prohibition styled space and James Beard Award-winning cocktail program is reason enough to spend all day soaking up the many libations this classy bar can throw at you. Take the “It’s a Jungle Out There” for example, and master its sweet, fruity body so you can swiftly impress any house guests at the next dinner party.

– 1.5 oz (42ml) Brugal Anejo
– 0.5 oz (14ml) Sfumato
– 0.75 oz (21ml) Pineapple Juice
– 0.25 oz (7ml) Lime Juice
– Strawberry and Pineapple Shrub

1. Get out a Rocks Glass.
2. Used cubed ice.
3. Briefly shake all ingredients together and strain into glass over fresh ice.
4. Garnish with the Pineapple Leaf and Skewered Strawberry.

“Gin Gimlet” from KOVAL Distillery

Chicago wouldn’t be quite the same without its healthy mix of craft distilleries keeping that strong history of liquor alive. KOVAL Distillery is one such spot, beloved for their line of organic and kosher certified whisky, gin and specialty spirits using unique grains and a signature “heart cut” technique. Though they’ve shifted their entire operations towards providing alcohol for hand-sanitiser in 2020, they’ll still be there churning out the good times when it comes to time to visit Chicago. In the meantime, take a shot at their simple and classic “Gin Gimlet”

– 2 oz (59ml) Koval Dry Gin (you can buy it in Australia from Dan Murphy’s
– 0.75 oz (21ml) lime juice
– 0.75 oz (21ml) simple syrup

1. Shake ingredients together with ice.
2. Strain into a coupe glass
3. Service garnished with a lime wheel

“Berry Basil Sangria” from LondonHouse Chicago

There are many highly regarded luxury hotels dotting the Chicago in and around the city centre, from the parkside Fairmont, the historic InterContinental, and the ultra-modern Swissotel, straight to this beauty – the design-forward LondonHouse Chicago which is part of Hilton’s lauded Curio Collection. With the hotel synchronising the classic architecture of 360 Michigan Avenue with a modernist 22-storey all-glass tower, you better believe they’ve got some high standards when it comes to their food and drink scene. Case in point is this beautiful “Berry Basil Sangria” which is all-berries in the profile, combining a tart rose wine with blueberries and the bright aroma of basil leaf to echo the flavours of summer.

– 1.5 oz (42ml) Vodka
– 0.75 oz (21ml) blueberry syrup
– 0.75 oz (21ml) lemon juice
– 1 oz (28ml) rose
– Fresh basil and lemon wheels

1. Combine all ingredients in a wine glass over ice and top with seltzer water.
2. Garnish with fresh basil leaf and lemon wheel.

Bucking the trend of Chicago’s luxury hotels hugging the iconic Magnificent Mile or edging Millennium Park, The Robey stands on the fashionable shoulders of Wicker Park, soaking up all that kinetic culture to form a complex boutique hotel that both honours the skyscraper in which it is located, and reflects the modernity that rushes through Chicago as relentlessly as the famously unforgiving breeze. It’d be hard to keep up with all high-quality spots in Wicker Park, so obviously The Robey is going to be hypervigilant when it comes to ensuring their mixology game is kept tight and up to scratch. Is it paying off? You decide with their signature “Pink Kiss”.

– 1.5 oz (42ml) earl grey infused vodka (a simple recipe can be found here
– 0.75 oz (21ml) lemon juice
– 0.75 oz (21ml) honey syrup
– 0.25 oz (7ml) campari
– 1 egg white

1. Shake ingredients and serve over ice in a rocks glass.

For more on Chicago’s bar scene head on over to

Feature image by Adam Alexander Photography and supplied by Choose Chicago.

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Want More Holiday Cocktails? Try these:

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MUDDLE segments in base of shaker. Add liqueur, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. TOP with prosecco and lightly stir.

8 segment Tangerine / Mandarin / Clementine (fresh fruit)
3 &frasl4 shot Mandarine Napoleon liqueur
Top up with Prosecco sparkling wine

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Mutticano Cocktail

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A play on the Americano cocktail, this bittersweet drink recipe was developed to serve at the fourth annual Joie de Mutt fund-raiser for San Francisco’s senior dog rescue, Muttville. This light and refreshing mix of vodka, Campari, fresh orange juice, and club soda makes a simple and sophisticated apéritif.

Game plan: If you’re making a batch of this cocktail ahead of time, mix the vodka, Campari, and OJ together and refrigerate, then add the soda and garnish just before serving.

How to Make a Blue Lagoon Cocktail

Here is a simple visual guide to making this delicious cocktail. Printable recipe card below.


The ingredients for this blue cocktail are: vodka, blue curacao and lemonade (use store bought or make your own … squeeze some fresh lemon juice, dilute and sweeten).

You will need one ounce of vodka.

… and one ounce of blue curaçao.


Start with a tulip or highball glass with ice. Pour the liquors over the fresh ice then top off with approximately six ounces lemonade. I find the drink blends readily, but a few shakes in a cocktail shaker with ice will make for a more exciting presentation.

Garnish with lemon or maraschino cherry .

Setting Up the Bar

It is always good to come up with a few cocktails for a party that share some similar ingredients and garnish to make stocking easier.

How to make a limoncello spritz

Just 3 simple ingredients are quickly layered, stirred and sipped.

Before you know it, you&rsquore sitting on an outdoor patio, looking over jagged cliffs into the emerald Mediterranean Sea.

You can even keep the bottle in the freezer so it can really deliver the necessary boozy punch to the taste buds.

If you never believed it was possible to pucker and smile at the same time, you&rsquoll believe it now.

It&rsquos so easy to make it&rsquos perfect for parties. You can use highball glasses or really big wine glasses.

I even include instructions for making a big batch in a pitcher.

It&rsquos a great substitute for mimosas at brunch or for my Gluten-Free Easter Menu.


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