Sun Stealer

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Cocktail History

The Sun Stealer is a winter cocktail that was created as a dessert-inspired riff on the classic gin martini formula by Henry Prendergast of Analogue in Chicago. It employs the body and strength of gin and vermouth with hints of chocolate, menthol, and bitterness from the accenting liqueurs to form 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 the base spirit. We used Citadelle Gin mostly because it fit the snowy theme (i.e. We imagined ourselves skiing in the French Alps while sipping this one), but we also picked it for its simple and crisp juniper notes that would complement the other flavors without overpowering them.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine that adds sweetness. We used Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth because its Alex’s favorite sweet vermouth, with dark notes of herbs, figs, licorice, cinnamon, and cocoa.

White Crème De Cacao: This adds light cocoa notes. We used one of these made by DeKuyper.

Fernet-Branca: This is an Italian amaro made with various spices. It adds a distinct bitterness to the drink.

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 Angostura Orange Bitters because they pair well with their aromatic bitters.

Lemon Twist: This is the garnish. It adds a hint of sour citrus aroma.

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 this recipe 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.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“Being a casual enjoyer of Fernet-Branca, I found this drink to be very interesting. As usual, the Fernet steals the show with its bracing bitterness, but the other ingredients allow its sweeter notes to come forward since after all Fernet 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 drinks. 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.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time5 minsRating

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 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 ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Sun Stealer

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More Winter Cocktails

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

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

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

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

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

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