If you've ever had a Pimm's Cup, Aperol Spritz, or champagne cocktail, you've had a low octane drink.

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Home Bar: Cocchi Spritz, Plus Thoughts About “Low Octane” Cocktails

Home Bar: Cocchi Spritz

There comes a time in life when you’re no longer chasing the highest ratio of alcohol by volume (ABV) to dollars. The trend has been going on for a while, with “session” beers and the appearance of “low octane” sections on cocktail menus over the past few years. I love sipping on vermouth and certain liqueurs as standalone drinks, but when it comes to mixing cocktails with those spirits I often balk at the idea — the flavor of a low-ABV spirit can easily get lost. However, when prepping for a long night out or when I’m just in need of a refreshing drink without getting too tipsy, I’ve been exploring the territory of low octane cocktails.

Home Bar: Cocchi Spritz

Most of us have enjoyed one of these cocktails without ever thinking about it. If you’ve ever had a Pimm’s Cup, Aperol Spritz, or champagne cocktail, you’ve had a low octane drink. The beautiful thing about these classics is that the low-ABV ingredient is allowed to shine.

Home Bar: Cocchi Spritz

On a recent weekend, I was inspired to mix something up with my brand new bottle of Cocchi Americano. This fortified wine (meaning that a distilled spirit, usually brandy, is added to the wine) is often compared to Lillet Blanc, but has a slightly bitter taste from the inclusion of cinchona bark. The bark naturally produces quinine and is commonly enjoyed as a main ingredient in tonic water. While I could have enjoyed a simple spritzer with just Cocchi Americano and club soda, I couldn’t resist to give it a little kick with some Old Tom gin. This gin is absent of the intense botanicals present in London Dry gin and is slightly sweeter. It’s perfect for the classic Tom Collins or this slight variation.

Home Bar: Cocchi Spritz

Glass

Collins

Recipe

3 oz Cocchi Americano

1 oz Old Tom gin (I recommend Hayman’s)
Club soda (I recommend Fever Tree)
.25 oz lemon juice
Lemon zest and/or thyme sprig garnish optional (try not to get any loose thyme leaves in the drink)

Combine all ingredients, except club soda, in the Collins glass. Add ice to fill the glass and then add club soda to top it off. Stir the drink to combine all of the ingredients for about 10 seconds. Add optional garnish and serve.

Photography and styling by Hannah Levy.

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Posted by Jeffrey Levy

Jeffrey is on a never-ending quest to find the next addition to his home bar. By night, he shakes and stirs as the founding partner of cocktail consulting company JW Hawthorne. By day, he runs a health care software company. Follow him @jfflvy on Instagram.

  • This past weekend, I was just talking about how I’m a low octane alcohol drinker convert! Thanks for the Cocchi inspiration – I always turn to the same drinks when I use it and this is a nice twist!

  • I’ve been reaching for Cocchi Americano or Lillet on warm summer days in place of white wine a lot lately. One of the biggest upsides is that the shelf life is so much longer! You can enjoy it neat, with ice, or long with soda water. So quick, easy, and delicious!

  • I usually only take my Cocchi out for a simple gin/lemon creation. This looks so refreshing and a wonderful summer libation.

  • Long pours are made for summer. Enjoy!

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