MxMo – CVI – Rainbow Sherbet Fizz

To get back into hopefully more consistent posts here, I’m going to participate in the monthly cocktail party at Mixology Monday! Each month, bloggers and cocktail enthusiasts are given a prompt to design or showcase a cocktail around. This month’s prompt was provided by Joel at Southern Ash:

As we look past the frost in the air for the arrival of spring, I wanted to challenge you with the theme of Spring Break!..  The best part of Spring Break is that it means so many things to so many different people, so I have some high expectations this month.  Yes, tiki-heads, I am looking at you. I want all of you to dig deep, steeled by last month’s MxMO, and find your spring break drink! What sort of drinks do you enjoy when you start to break out of your winter shell? Do you crave a return to gin and tonics? Is there a drink that calls to you as the weather warms and the sun creeps through the sky longer and longer?  Perhaps there is a drink that you fondly recall from your days of being a callow youth on Spring Break that led you down this primrose cocktail path?.. This is the month to to share those warm weather finds!”

Last summer, a group of friends from around the world congregated in my general area, and my wife and I threw a party for everyone, including some hand-crafted cocktails around the campfire. One of these friends is from Finland. As a gift, she generously gave me a bottle of Lakkalikööri, a Finnish liqueur made with cloudberries. Lakkalikööri, or Lakka for short, is very sweet, with a subtle and complex citrus flavor. 

While I have enjoyed sipping it on its own, I hadn’t made a cocktail with it. I found most other ingredients overpowered the subtle flavors of the Lakka. But, when I saw this month’s prompt, I was determined to finally utilize Lakka in a unique way. Not only does my bottle of Lakka remind me of the great get-together from last summer, cloudberries ripening is often a herald of the middle of the short Arctic summer.

Rainbow Sherbet Fizz

Makes one drink

1oz Lakkalikööri

1oz Aperol

0.75oz lemon juice

0.75oz egg white

6 drops orange bitters

Splash of club soda

Combine the Lakka, Aperol, lemon juice, and egg white in a shaker. Dry shake vigorously for a minute, then add ice and continue to shake for a few minutes. Double strain, and top with remaining foam. Drop the orange bitters into the thick foam and swirl with a toothpick. Add some club soda to taste.

Lakka, on its own, can be a little heavy and syrupy. To really make this drink evoke summer, I needed it to be light. So I avoided any of the traditional base spirits and went for an amaro to counteract the sweetness. However, most amaros are strong in their own right. Aperol’s more mild bitter orange flavors pair excellently with the complex citrus notes of Lakka, and the two liqueurs balance well. A little lemon juice brightens the drink significantly. This drink is fairly acidic – a little egg white helps keep the drink silky smooth, and, when combined with a splash of club soda, gives it a cloud-like foam top.

This is a bright, effervescent drink with powerful and complex citrus notes and a very pleasant bitter finish. The slight carbonation and foam keep the sweet from being too cloying. My friend Kyle described the flavor as “smokey melted rainbow sherbet.” I don’t know if it gets more summery than that.

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