Officially, singani is a brandy. But bartenders will tell you it is unlike any other spirit on the shelf. “It defies category,” says Sam Willy, bar manager at Gabriel Kreuther in New York City. “It has its own style, and a lot of flavors you don’t find in brandy.”
Its sweet bouquet of orange blossoms, jasmine, and roses packs an 80-proof punch bright with citrus flavors and the earthiness of an unaged spirit. Most exciting: Its strong personality shines through in an astonishing range of cocktails.
Consider the Night Fox, Willy’s suave take on an 1800s martini, with singani in place of the gin, and Lillet and St. Germain standing in for vermouth. On the other end of the spectrum, the Sea Stories by Alex Day of the Normandie Club and Walker Inn in Los Angeles uses singani in place of rum in a contemporary tiki cocktail that is tropical and complex, but with a nice lightness and edge. Both drinks are delicious and without the usual boozy burn, thanks to singani’s silky texture. Proceed with caution.
The Night Fox
By Sam Willy of Gabriel Kreutzer, New York City
• 2 oz. Singani 63
• ½ oz. Lillet
• ½ oz. St. Germain
• 2 dashes orange bitters
• Absinthe (or another anise liqueur), to rinse the glass
• Orange peel, for garnish
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the Singani 63, Lillet, St. Germain, and bitters, and stir. Lightly rinse a rocks glass with absinthe and add a large ice cube. Strain in the cocktail and serve, garnished with an orange peel.
By Alex Day of the Normandie Club, Los Angeles
• 1½ oz. Singani 63
• ½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
• ½ oz. fresh lime juice
• ¾ oz. unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
• ¾ oz. simple syrup
• Lime wheel, for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake and strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with the lime wheel and, if you’re being fancy, an umbrella.