Joel Caruso and Aristotle Alstaetter are building up an amaro and bitters collection at Pizzeria Ortica that can act as a booze Seed Vault in the event of Doomsday. The one they're playing around with right now is Contratto bitters, a sweet, fragrant bitter better than Aperol. You can sip it neat, drink it in one of their Italian-inspired cocktails. Or, better yet, get at it through a Reverse Sazerac.
A Sazerac, of course, is a New Orleans staple. But Caruso and Alstaetter's take is a celebration of American multicultural alcoholism--the absinthe, of course, but also Contratto and Iris bitters from Italy and George T. Stagg bourbon as the anchor. They set the latter aflame for its fragrance and also to unlock a caramel flavor that blends beautifully with everything else. It's the best celebration of the Big Easy's Italian heritage since Louis Prima--plays pretty for the people, folks!
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