I have been spending the last few weeks making my way through the recipes in the NYTimes summer drinks section which has meant sipping some wonderfully delicious drinks that are refreshing, citrusy and herbally—ideal qualities for a summer cocktail, in my opinion.  My favorite so far is Italia Libera, created by Chaim Dauermann of ‘inoteca e liquori bar in New York City.

An adaption of the Cuba Libre (take out the lime juice and you have the ever-popular Rum and Coke), this highball combines an amaro, Ramazzotti to be specific, with the 150 proof Wray and Nephew rum for an Italian-inspired variation.  Chaim explained his inspiration to me, “I was trying to emulate the flavors of a ‘rum and Coke’ while classing it up a bit.”  He added that a friend’s reference to Ramazzotti as “the Coca-Cola of amari” factored into his Italian version the classic Cuba Libre.  Although I cannot quite remember the last time I had a rum and Coke (I vaguely remember a Halloween party about 10 years ago in which I fear one too many were consumed), I can attest to the fact that while the general flavor may be familiar this is something entirely different.   It is the perfect drink to sip lakeside (which I did the last two weekends) or even to enjoy while suffering through household chores (which I did yesterday).

Italia Libera

1 oz Wray and Nephew white rum

1 oz Ramazzotti amaro

¼ oz lemon juice

¾ oz simple syrup

Chilled seltzer

Combine the rum, Ramazzotti, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice, top with seltzer and garnish with the lime wedge.

Cheers!

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