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Drink Of The Week: Fangs Out


Fangs OutLast year during the month of October I shared a series of Halloween-themed cocktails that are all great classics. The Corpse Reviver No. 2, Satan's Whiskers, Trader Vic's El Diablo and Don the Beachcomber's Zombie. I couldn't let the month go by without adding another ghoulish recipe to the list. This year I am sharing my interpretation of something I had at the Bradstreet Crafthouse back in January.

Although it's no longer on the menu at Bradstreet, every time I look at the ingredients I am bitten. This is not for the faint of heart. First of all, it's an all-spirits drink, and while that has the benefit of avoiding fresh juices making it easier in some respects, it also packs a wallop. This isn't something all springtime-refreshing and peppy. It's an autumn drink that is dark, herbal, complex and bitter—like a Negroni that fell under the spell of Green Chartreuse.

Fangs OutFangs Out from the Bradstreet Crafthouse
Summit Sips version
1.5 oz gin
.75 oz Carpano Antica Formula
.75 oz Cynar
.25 oz Chartreuse Green
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Fangs Out isn't shy. It gets its bitter bite from a healthy dose of Cynar. Combine this with Carpano Antica Formula vermouth—a bold and delicious red with seductive vanilla notes—and you already have a lot going on. Layer these on top of your favorite gin and you have a wonderful riff on the Negroni starting to take flight. Now, swirl in a splash of Chartreuse and garnish it with a flamed orange peel and it becomes almost supernatural.

Honestly, Fangs Out may be too much cocktail for some people. It's definitely not for everyone. You should not make it the signature drink for your Halloween party. Stick with one of the classics above, unless your guests are all cocktail snobs and craft bartenders. But if you have already fallen victim to the scary bitter spectrum of flavors, or you are inexplicably drawn to spirit-driven sippers packed with herbal complexity like I am, you may not be able to resist inviting this recipe into your home.

14 comments to Drink Of The Week: Fangs Out

  • Fangs Out was my favorite summer drink at the Violet Hour and perhaps is now my favorite drink, period. I took notes as they prepared it and the recipe I jotted down and your recipe are very similar. I made them both over the weekend and I believe you nailed it. As soon as I smelled it, I knew you had it. You captured the silkiness and controlled the power of the chartreuse. Kudos and thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
    I'd be happy to share a wonderful off-menu drink I recently had at one of my favorite bars here in Chicago called Maude's. I did some reverse engineering and got it down perfectly. Its a riff off of the Last Word.

  • Alejandro,
    Thanks so much for commenting. This cocktail could have gone a bunch of different ways with the proportions of these ingredients, and I never got to watch them make the drink. I am so glad someone else out there can help confirm my memory of the flavors since I only ever had one opportunity to try it. I would think the gin plays an important role. They used North Shore Distiller's No. 11 at Bradstreet, but I don't have any. What did you use?

    As for the riff on the Last Word, it's one of my favorites, so by all means, please share!

    Finally, if you like that touch of Chartreuse, have you tried the Greenpoint?

  • Randy,
    At the Violet Hour they used Junipero gin and that is what I have at my bar at home. Next time I'm in there, I'll ask them to confirm the recipe. I have a feeling you are dead-on.

    The lovely lady at Maude's called her drink
    the Final Chapter:
    3/4 oz. Old Overholt
    3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
    3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
    3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
    Luxardo cherry for garnish

    Not sure how long its been since you were in Chicago but there are quite a number of places to have cocktails with character now. My favorites are easily: Maude's, Longman & Eagle and Blackbird. Runners up would be: Whistler and the Aviary. Its a great time to drink here!
    I haven't tried the Greenpoint but, I will look it up now. Thanks again!

  • It's been a while since I was in Chicago, so perhaps it's time to return.

    I just used my last drop of maraschino! A travesty, I know. Time to restock. The Final Chapter looks great, though maybe a little on the sweet side? Gotta love a 1:1:1:1 recipe!

  • I totally forgot to place Sable Kitchen & Bar on my favorite list. Oops! They do the classics without flaw and make their own drinks that taste just as timeless as the rest of the menu. So yes, you should come back!
    The Final Chapter works out great without the garnish but with it, you are right, there is a cyclone of sweet in the cocktail's center.
    The Greenpoint sounds delicious. I'll be making that one this evening.
    Have you tried Spotted Pig's (NYC) Left-Handed Negroni?:

    2oz. Maker's
    3/4oz. Campari
    3/4oz. Carpano Antica
    garnish flamed orange peel

    I like subbing it with Rittenhouse and adding a couple of drops of orange bitters during stirring time.

  • That one sounds good too. I'll be subbing Templton Rye, and I would have to agree about using bitters to pull it all together.

  • John

    Strangely enough, I just made a cocktail last night named the "Right Hand" that is very similar to the Left-Handed Negroni posted here:

    1.5 oz Aged Rum (Matusalem Gran Reserva)
    3/4 oz Carpano Antica
    3/4 oz Campari
    2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

    Created by Michael McIlroy of Milk and Honey and Little Branch. Surprisingly good.

  • Nice. Left hand, right hand--we have whiskey, we have rum. That's interesting. Does anyone know where the names of these variations originate? All we need is brandy/cognac for the left foot and maybe añejo or reposado tequila for the right foot and we have the Twister variants!

  • I don't mean to offend anyone but, my first thought as to why the drink was called that is that its the wrong spirit to make the negroni with. I hear people refer to left-handed people as being 'wrong-handed'. I figured it was a play on that. Or, if we want to be very dramatic, historically something on the left side is seen as evil. Think Judas' position to Jesus in the 'Last Supper'. Perhaps this drink is so evil its delicious? Ha ha ha...now I'm reaching in the dark.
    I'll work on a drink for the feet and report back.

  • I think you are probably right about the left-handed usage. If anything, it's a reference to something uncommon. I was sorta joking about Twister, but I do think there's at least a brandy variation in there waiting to be discovered.

  • John

    From the PDT Cocktail Book:

    "Sam Ross combined his favorite classics, Italy's Negroni and America's Manhattan, into one drink and named the result after Lefty, an Italian-American character from the movie Donnie Brasco."

  • Ahh, you found the answer! Thanks, John!

  • Paul

    Tried this yesterday, and I must say that it was very good, and I liked the full body of bitter notes, and spice from the Chartreuse. Does it spoil the drink adding a lump of ice to it ? I can see that it gets more and more dilluted, but at the same time you want to keep it cool for a longer time- so you can sip it slowly.

    • Add ice and no harm done. Make sure you chill the glass. I keep coupes in the freezer which helps. If dilution is your goal, you can stir a little longer to take more of the edge off, not that you NEED to drink faster, but you don't want it to get warm!

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