Sun Stealer

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Cocktail History

The Sun Stealer is a winter cocktail that was created by Henry Prendergast at Analogue in Chicago, Illinois. It’s a dessert-inspired variation of the classic Gin Martini formula that employs the body and strength of gin and vermouth with hints of chocolate, menthol, and bitterness from the accenting liqueurs. This combination forms a strong and bold yet sweet and light flavor that just about anyone can appreciate.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Gin: This is a spirit made with juniper berries, botanicals, and alcohol. We used Maison Ferrand Citadelle Gin because it has simple and crisp juniper flavor with notes of violet root, angelica, lemon peel, and baking spices. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth because it’s a high quality vermouth with dark notes of herbs, figs, licorice, cinnamon, and cocoa. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth.

White Crème De Cacao: This is a liqueur made with white chocolate, vanilla, sugar, and alcohol. We used DeKuyper Crème De Cacao White because it has a delightful white chocolate flavor and is affordable. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium White Chocolate Syrup in place of the white chocolate liqueur.

Fernet-Branca: This is an amaro made in Italy with gentian, aloe, herbs, spices, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Harmony Alpine Digestif in place of the amaro.

Orange Bitters: This is a food product made with oranges, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Orange Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters.

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

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

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Sun Stealer features aromas of citrus followed by the distinct flavor of Fernet-Branca that evolves with a light chocolate note, all with the herbal flavors of gin and a slight orange accent. The bitterness of the Fernet comes forward again on the swallow, feeling a bit like that first searing breath of frigid air when you step into subzero temperatures.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: You all know by now that Kendall isn’t a big fan of Fernet-Branca, but she did enjoy the experience of trying it in the Sun Stealer and thought it would make for a good gateway cocktail for the amaro. Alex also found the drink to be fascinatingly deep and really enjoyed the dessert-like quality it had despite being so gin forward.

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Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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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.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“Being a casual enjoyer of Fernet-Branca, I found this drink to be very interesting. As usual, the amaro steals the show with its bracing bitterness, but the other ingredients allow its sweeter notes to come forward since after all Fernet-Branca is very sugary. When complemented by the crème de cacao, this one becomes an almost dessert-like experience, with only touches of the gin’s dry herbal notes and the brightness of orange bitters. We opted to use Citadelle Gin from France as a nod to the French Alps, but after tasting this cocktail, I vowed to make another sometime using Garnish Island Gin from Ireland as that gin features its own light notes of chocolate.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“Like Alex, I found the Sun Stealer to be very unique in taste. It definitely has Fernet-Branca’s bitterness, but it’s tempered by the other ingredients to make the drink palatable enough for someone like me who prefers sweeter cocktails. I don’t know that I would request this one again, but I would put it on a list of recipes I’d try every so often as a gateway to liking more bitter cocktails.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

Sale
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 160 Pages – 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$14.58 Amazon Prime

AuthorWinter Drinks

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Gin
 ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
 ½ oz White Crème De Cacao
 ¼ oz Fernet-Branca
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add gin, sweet vermouth, white crème de cacao, Fernet-Branca, orange bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Gin
 ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
 ½ oz White Crème De Cacao
 ¼ oz Fernet-Branca
 1 dash Orange Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add gin, sweet vermouth, white crème de cacao, Fernet-Branca, orange bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Sun Stealer

Make It a Mocktail: Use MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth, Monin Premium White Chocolate Syrup in place of the white chocolate liqueur, Harmony Alpine Digestif in place of the amaro, and All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

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More Winter Cocktails

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

Midnight Stinger Cocktail Recipe

Midnight Stinger: A rye cocktail made with Fernet-Branca, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint

Winter Pimm's Cup Cocktail Recipe

Winter Pimm’s Cup: A Pimm’s liqueur cocktail made with lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger syrup, American lager, blood orange slices, cranberries, rosemary, and oregano

French Toast Flip Cocktail Recipe

French Toast Flip: A sherry, Scotch, and apple brandy cocktail made with maple syrup, allspice syrup, egg white and yolk, orange and fig bitters, and ground cinnamon

Chartreuse Toddy Cocktail Recipe

Chartreuse Toddy: A brandy cocktail made with water, Green Chartreuse, lemon juice, honey syrup, and star anise

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