Bitter Giuseppe

Recipe: Bitter Giuseppe (serves one)

  • 2 oz. Cynar
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 6 dashes (3/4 tsp) grapefruit (or other citrus) bitters
  • lemon twist

Combine liquid ingredients in ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon twist.


This cocktail revolves around Cynar, the bitter Italian liqueur. The recipe is featured in a book called The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, which credits it to Stephen Cole at The Violet Hour in Chicago. The drink lives up to its promise of flavor and complexity without a ton of alcohol — especially if you use the 33-proof Cynar “Ricetta Originale” rather than the newer 70-proof version. The other alcoholic ingredient is sweet vermouth (another Italian classic); the Carpano Antica Formula that we use is 33-proof as well.

The recipe calls for 6 dashes of bitters, which is 2 or 3 times more than most other cocktails. The original specifies orange bitters, but we found that at this volume, the orange soda notes in our Fee Brothers orange bitters stood out too much. We liked the result better with Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters.

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