Barber of Seville

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Cocktail History

The Barber of Seville is a modern cocktail that was created by Will Elliott at Maison Premiere in New York City, New York and was first published in The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum. It is described as similar to an inverted julep or Sherry Swizzle because it pairs a sherry base with spicy rye whiskey. It then rounds out the spirits with the unique flavor of Aperitivo Cappelletti Americano Rosso, orgeat syrup, citrus, and orange blossom water.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Manzanilla Sherry: This is the base spirit. It is a dry white wine made from palomino grapes and aged under a layer of yeasts that is similar to fino sherry but can only be produced in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, an area in southern Spain. This recipe specifically calls for Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, but we were unable to locate that brand and went with Lustau Solera Reserva Light Manzanilla Sherry.

Rye: This is the other base spirit. We chose Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey because it’s a nice, spicy rye with notes of vanilla, pepper, and herbs. For a low-proof version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the rye.

Aperitivo Cappelletti Americano Rosso: This is a bitter Italian liqueur made with a wine base, citrus, herbs, spices, and natural carmine. Although similar to Campari, this liqueur is lighter and sweeter and doesn’t have a true substitute, but you can try Giffard Aperitif Syrup in place of the liqueur for a low-proof version of this drink.

Lemon Juice: This adds sweet and sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Orgeat Syrup: This is a sweetener made with almonds, bitter almond oil, cane sugar, gum Arabic powder, orange flower water, citric acid, benzoic acid, and water. We used Liber & Co. Almond Orgeat Syrup because it’s one of the highest quality on the market.

Orange Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with orange and botanicals. They add citrus flavor and spice to the drink for more complexity. We used Scrappy’s Bitters Orange Bitters because they offer the classic taste of bitter oranges, herbs, and spices. For a low-proof version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Orange Bitters in place of the bitters.

Orange Flower Water: This is a clear and aromatic liquid that is made by distilling fresh orange blossoms to extract their essential oils. It adds a noticeable floral aroma and taste, and a little goes a long way. We used Cortas Orange Blossom Water because it’s one of the best on the market, in our opinion.

Marcona Almonds: These are one of the garnishes. They are crushed and add more almond flavor.

Orange Peel Strips: These are also a garnish. They add more fresh citrus aroma.

Tasting Notes

The Barber of Seville features nutty orange aromas, a taste of lemon-accented whiskey bite combined with sherry earthiness, and an aftertaste strong with this amaro’s unique herbal flavor mingled with sweet nutty and fruity notes.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Honestly, this recipe is so tasty that neither of us could believe the Barber of Seville doesn’t show up on menus or blogs more often! We were both blown away by how well everything harmonizes to create a truly unique cocktail worthy of an encore.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“For a drink with so many unique and disparate ingredients, they all work very well. It has a delightful lemon sourness to it assisted by the amaro, and the finish has plenty of the amaro’s unique flavors on the palate. The orgeat plays a supporting role, and you can’t really tell it’s there. But it lends a nuttiness that complements the sherry’s taste. The only thing I didn’t really understand was the almonds on top, but their presence makes sense with the other ingredients.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I had never tried the amaro used in this drink before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect in a cocktail that calls for a sherry base. I ended up liking it much more than I thought I would! The Barber of Seville is delightfully citrusy and has a pleasant sourness that makes you want to keep right on sipping. I would drink this again.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Manzanilla Sherry
 ½ oz Rye
 ¾ oz Aperitivo Cappelletti Americano Rosso
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 ¼ oz Orgeat Syrup
 3 dashes Orange Bitters
 3 drops Orange Flower Water
 4 Marcona Almonds
 6 Orange Peel Strips

Method
1

Add sherry, rye, Aperitivo Cappelletti, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, orange bitters, orange flower water, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass or julep tin.

4

Crush almonds in a mortar and pestle.

5

Garnish with crushed almonds and orange peel strips.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Manzanilla Sherry
 ½ oz Rye
 ¾ oz Aperitivo Cappelletti Americano Rosso
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 ¼ oz Orgeat Syrup
 3 dashes Orange Bitters
 3 drops Orange Flower Water
 4 Marcona Almonds
 6 Orange Peel Strips

Directions

Method
1

Add sherry, rye, Aperitivo Cappelletti, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, orange bitters, orange flower water, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass or julep tin.

4

Crush almonds in a mortar and pestle.

5

Garnish with crushed almonds and orange peel strips.

Barber of Seville

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the rye, Giffard Aperitif Syrup in place of the liqueur, and All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Orange Bitters in place of the bitters to try a low-proof version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Campari Cocktails

If you like this cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that are similar that you may enjoy:

Jungle Bird Cocktail Recipe

Jungle Bird: A rum cocktail made with Campari, lime juice, simple syrup, pineapple juice, and a lime wheel

Old Pal Cocktail Recipe

Old Pal: A whiskey cocktail made with dry vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist

Garibaldi Cocktail Recipe

Garibaldi: A Campari cocktail made with orange juice and an orange slice

Rhubarb & Gingerbread Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Rhubarb & Gingerbread Negroni: A gin cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, gingerbread syrup, and an orange peel

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