Of all the drinks I've ever come up with, Rope Burn is my favorite. It's deceptively simple with only three ingredients, four if you count the grapefruit peel. I was honored this year to find it on the summer menu at Caña, and even more honored when I would overhear so many people ordering it again and again. It's awfully close to being a rum negroni, but ingredients like the Smith & Cross rum and the Bonal gentiane liqueur give this brown-bitter-stirred beauty a life of its own.
1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Bonal
Stir, express a grapefruit peel then discard
I credit Justin Pike from The Tasting Kitchen in Los Angeles for introducing me to the Aperol and Bonal combination. A cocktail appears on his menu that uses all amari as ingredients. I find that the Smith & Cross rum takes the bitter elements away and replaces it with funky and sweet notes. All three ingredients could dominate a drink by themselves, but perform remarkably well when mixed together. The grapefruit peel provides just the right amount of acidity to balance the drink out.