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What: La Sirena Segreta, with Spring 44 Gin, Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, lemon juice, and Prosecco
Where: Rosario, 2435 18 St. NW; (202) 899-5794; rosariodc.com
What You Should Be Drinking: You won’t find fins or a tail in this cocktail named for the mythological sea creature, just a splash of Finocchietto, the fennel liqueur created by local craft distiller Francesco Amodeo of Don Ciccio & Figli. Rosario general manager and beverage director Bob Wagner shakes the Finocchietto with Spring 44 Gin, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, and lemon juice. The drink is built in a wine glass over ice, topped with Prosecco and garnished with a fennel frond.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: Rosario’s aperitivo menu runs 12 selections deep. But many people think an iconic Italian spritz enjoyed during that oh-so-civilized pre-dinner hour has to start with a bitter red Italian spirit like Campari. False. This sip is equally crisp and refreshing, yet it focuses on less expected flavors. The strong taste of the anise-flavored liqueur matches the crisp and juniper-forward Colorado gin, and Barrow’s bite—it’s called “intense” for a reason—gets the juices flowing for dinner (or an antipasto plate to stave off hunger pangs until your table is ready.) Allora, just dive in.