When designing cocktails for a contest such as the Hotel Monteleone’s, one has to consider what a bar/restaurant is able to produce on a regular basis. So, just like the Whis-Kebob wouldn’t be good to win this contest with, as it uses ingredients that are too difficult for a hotel to come by, today’s drink, the Contessa, wouldn’t be a good fit either, as two of the four ingredients are hand-made, something that a large operation like a hotel is definitely not looking for.

Then why am I presenting you with this recipe, instead of one that may win the Monteleone’s contest? First of all, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do when it comes to submitting recipes for contests. Secondly, it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Seattle right now with blue skies, temperatures soaring to 26˚C and the sweet smell of spring in the air, so the Contessa is a perfect drink for such a day, and I thought it best to share it with you.

Without further ado:


2 oz Pisco
½ oz raspberry syrup
1 ½ oz grapefruit juice
shake hard and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass
mist the surface with a spray of lavender tincture
(if you’re feeling a little daring, mist the lavender through a lit lighter for spectacular effect and added aromatics)

For the raspberry syrup I just heated a pint of frozen raspberries (stirring all the time) in one part water until the water started to boil, and then added two parts sugar and stirred until dissolved. I immediately took the pot off of the heat when the sugar dissolved and let cool for 30 minutes. When the syrup was cooler, I separated the solids from the liquid and bottled, adding two ounces of vodka to each bottle for longevity.

The lavender tincture was simply made by macerating dried lavender in high proof vodka for one week and then filtering.

The Contessa is a bright refreshing libation that is doubly floral for the pisco and the aromatics provided by the tincture. I predicted last winter that floral notes were going to be hot this summer, and I’ve started to see that come to fruition with people making lavender bitters, hibiscus being bottled in syrup, and now Gran Centenario making a hibiscus infused tequila with their latest offering Rosangel. The age of the flower is amongst us!

Enjoy the weather if you’ve got it, but remember, tomorrow is the last day that the Hotel Monteleone is taking recipes for the competition so get them in before it’s too late!



Drink and Picture by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer


~ by Jamie Boudreau on May 17, 2009.

6 Responses to “Contessa”

  1. Yes, please. I can imagine this rather vividly- the added floral note, I think, takes this into some very special territory. Do you have the lavender tincture at Tini Bigs? I may have to order this the next time I’m in.

  2. I do

  3. Hey, just wondering what the “parts” were in the raspberry syrup. Been meaning to make my own and raspberries are expensive here, so I can’t afford to do much experimenting! Hahaha! Should I expect to use, maybe, four cups of sugar and two of water for each pint of berries?

  4. Ginty:
    Make a 2:1 simple as you normally would, but add raspberries. The more you add, the stronger the raspberry flavour. Frozen raspberries work best and are the most cost efficient. Make sure to strain to remove all of the solids.

  5. Okay, thanks! I’ll try the frozen. This is next on my to-do list!

  6. Forgot to post sooner,…

    I made two bottles (yeah, the amount I made filled TWO. Might have over-estimated the amount I’d need) of raspberry syrup on your suggestions and it was a HIT with my friends. Thanks again.

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