1 part gin (Small's)
1 part Aperol
1 part Bonal Gentiane-Quina
Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
The drink begins with a cardamom and candied grapefruit nose. The sip is smooth and on the sweet side. There is a welcome, slightly bitter finish from the cinchona in the Bonal that peeks out before the cardamom finish takes over. The Aperol adds a light fruitiness that mixes nicely with the Small's gin and is not quite as aggressive as Campari in this Negroni-style, equal-parts cocktail. However, Small's has been challenging to mix with due to its overwhelming cardamom finish. This characteristic was noted in a solid review at the Drink Spirits blog. It is not an easily swappable gin when following traditional cocktail recipes and its dominance needs to be considered in the creation of new gin cocktails. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but as noted earlier, challenging when mixing. It should also be noted that in addition to the cardamom, Small's also holds more nuanced notes of lemon rind, juniper, and star anise. In future iterations, lemon juice may be added to cut through the sweetness for a crisper finish.