Pure Spirits: Nardini Elixir China & Reversed Summer Potion

This year, April definitely offers more than just a foretaste of summer. So what could be better than a nice and refreshing cocktail under the open sky? In this sense, today I would like to present you a beautiful, spicy-fresh summer drink, which certainly offers a little sophistication. (provided test product)*

The basis of the cocktail is the Nardini Elixir China, a bitter and spicy liqueur from Italy. Italian distilleries and liqueur manufacturers are well known for their rich and long tradition of Amaros respectively Amari, and with the Elixir China, the house of Nardini offers something very special (more about the Amari genus and the Nardini distillery can be found here). The name “Elixir China” might already give you an idea of what this “Elixir” is about – and indeed, Nardini made this liqueur relying on cinchona bark. To be precise it is made with an infusion of cinchona calisaya bark, condurango bark, bitter orange peel, mace, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. It is finally bottled at an appealing ABV of 34%. This liqueur promises to meet my taste since I have always had a penchant for bitter aromas.

Tasting Notes “Nardini Elixir China”:

Aroma: The spicy bitterness of the cinchona bark is already foreshadowed on the nose; herbal associations and distinct cloves also characterize the aroma. Over time, orange peel and a little dark caramel sugar come through.

Taste: A very beautiful and immediately appealing Amaro, which offers an aromatic and spicy taste experience of oranges, beautiful yet not too dominant bitter aromas, spices and a finely balanced sweetness. Cloves and cinnamon are unmistakable; a fine, flowery substructure triggers associations of coriander and mace blossoms. I just have to emphasize that the Nardini Elixir China is simply very well composed and very well balanced.

Finish: bittersweet and spicy with the characteristic touch of orange peel.

Summer, sun and Sours – that was one of my first thoughts before the preparation of today’s cocktail. Nevertheless, I did not just want to mix a refreshing and fruity drink, but also bring in the depth and the beautiful bitter flavors of the Elixir China. The result is a very beautiful creation called “Reversed Summer Potion”: Herbal, spicy, fresh and fruity with the Elixir China as the main actor. To a certain extent, I have reversed the ingredients of a classic Sour here, because in most of those recipes, a spicy liqueur is used to accompany a classic base spirit as an accentuation – so it does not play the leading role. In the Reversed Summer Potion this is just the opposite (simply reversed): The Nardini Elixir China is accentuated only a little bit by some gin. However, since an ordinary gin would simply go down here and the result would not be identical, it should be an expressive and intense-aromatic Navy Strength Gin! If you cling to that, you’re ready for summer.

Recipe “Reversed Summer Potion”:

5 cl Nardini Elixir China
1.5 cl Navy Strength Gin (preferably a juniper-heavy one)
2.5 cl lemon juice
1.5 cl rosemary syrup (see below)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Rosemary syrup: Grind two small sprigs of rosemary along with 150 g of sugar in a mortar until the sugar turns green. Finally add to a small pan with 200 ml of water on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, finally let it simmer for a few minutes to obtain a syrupy consistency.

Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously on ice and strain into your glass filled with crushed ice.

Glass: Tumbler

Garnish: sprig of rosemary

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online

*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.

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