Like the famous city, it’s a cocktail so nice they named it twice!
Well, not really but the Bella Bella is a quintessential summer drink that, given that we’re not very far into spring, is worth trying now to see if you want it in your wheelhouse for the coming months.
The primary flavour profile of the drink is bitter citrus, not sour citrus or sweet citrus which are more familiar citric stylings when it comes to cocktails. That alone makes it stand out from the crowd because there’s so many drinks that use ingredients like limoncello or Cointreau to be either very, very tart or incredibly sweet. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it is refreshing to find a drink that is not afraid to try something a bit more avant-garde.
Although the original recipe calls for Campari, I used Aperol as it’s similar in flavour but has less intensity in both alcohol and bitterness. This may sound counter-intuitive, given that I’m celebrating the bitterness of the Bella Bella, but it still works and if you’re someone who doesn’t typically enjoy bitter flavours you’ll probably like the Aperol version more.
The Aperol has a bonus side effect; it makes the colour of the cocktail so fresh and inviting, a wild orange colour that stops just short of radioactive and, personally, I’m into it. It’s a heap of fun, and I can imagine it looking bomb in a tall pitcher with loads of ice – another reason why it’s gonna be a perfect summer drink.
There’s also something oddly comforting about Bella Bella – between the bitterness and the slight creaminess of the ingredients, it almost tastes medicinal – but in a good way! Like Calpol or something else from your childhood, where you secretly enjoy it and then end up missing it as an adult. For reals, do they make Calpol for adults? Answers on a postcard, please.
I really enjoyed the Bella Bella, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I drank it more than some of the sweeter recipes that I lean towards, just because it is a nice reprieve from all the sugar in my day to day life, ’cause lord do I have a lot of sugar! So, do yourselves a favour and give it a whirl – you won’t regret it.
Girl, look how orange you look!
♦ 1 ounce gin
♦ ⅔ ounce Aperol (or Campari)
♦ ½ ounce limoncello
♦ ½ ounce Cointreau (or triple sec)
♦ ⅔ fresh orange juice (or clementine juice for added zing)
Shake all the ingredients together with ice, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel, or cocktail cherries.