Cocktail Know-How: The Rosso Corsa

Bohanans' The Rosso Corsa, the signature cocktail for the 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference - Courtesy
Bohanans' The Rosso Corsa, the signature cocktail for the 2015 San Antonio Cocktail Conference

As we toast to our New Year's resolutions and quickly break them, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference draws ever near. Bartenders are putting finishing touches on their amazing new creations and studying up on the old favorites, some of which were featured in this column. This year, the master mixologists at Bohanans have outdone themselves, creating the conference's signature cocktail, the Rosso Corsa (which translates as "racing red" in Italian).

Named for the iconic deep red paint of Italy's most famous sports cars (think Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo), this cocktail has set a lofty standard. Equal parts ambition, tradition and knowledge, the Rosso Corsa sets out immediately to show it's more than just a fancy moniker.

This sophisticated cocktail starts with a steady pour of Woodford Reserve. Bourbon and whiskey drinkers will be familiar with the name. This International Spirits Challenge Gold Medal winner has a rich, honey-amber color and an unmistakable citrus and cacao taste. Spices and toffee accent a silky texture and impeccably smooth finish. Simply put, this is what bourbon should taste like.

As you enjoy the rich smoothness of Woodford Reserve, you'll also taste a dash of grenadine and fresh lemon juice, both adding complexity and flavor that will have your palate revved up for four days of drinking.

With a name like Rosso Corsa, however, you can't just aim to be the best. You have to have flair, a little showmanship and a heavy dose of allure.

To finish off their libation, the team at Bohanans tops the racecar red Corsa with three dashes of Peychaud's bitters—a slightly bitter variation with a floral aroma and hints of licorice.

When these four ingredients meet under the watchful eye of a great bartender, what you get is transcendent and delicious, sophisticated and sincere. You get a cocktail worthy of not only deep, unmistakable Ferrari red, but also a drink with versatility and longevity, sure to create a legend of its own.

I'll see you at the bar. I'll be the one in the red scarf and leather racing suit. No, you can't sip my drink, but you should definitely get one for yourself.

The Rosso Corsa

  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • ¾ ounce grenadine
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • Shake bourbon, grenadine and lemon juice with ice and strain into coup glass. Dot with bitters.

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