The Art of Choke: A Spring Cocktail That Sounds Wrong, Tastes Right

The Art of Choke is the perfect cocktail to transition you out of the chill of winter and into the warm breeze of spring.

Photo courtesy of Melanie Kunz Estopinal and Chris George
Ask a bartender to make you his favorite contemporary classic cocktail and there's a good chance you'll get a Red Hook (Enzo Errico's superb Punt e Mes Manhattan variation), a Penicillin (Sam Ross' ingenious scotch sour), or a Oaxaca Old Fashioned (Phil Ward's brilliant mezcal-based spin on the grandfather of cocktails). He might also set down in front of you a sweating rocks glass containing an Art of Choke cocktail.Unlike the previous three modern heavyweights, even cocktail connoisseurs have probably never heard of it. But with summer just around the corner, there's no better time to rectify that. With its bracingly fresh lime and mint flavors preceding a lingering amaro finish, this is the perfect cocktail to transition you out of the chill of winter and into the warm breeze of spring.
The Art of Choke was created by Kyle Davidson at Chicago's Violet Hour. It's a revolutionary cocktail— not only because it breaks one of mixology's cardinal rules (don't stir drinks containing citrus). It melds two fundamental cocktail formulas seamlessly: Remove the Cynar (an artichoke-based liqueur) and you've got a delicious daiquiri variation. Alternately, take out the lime juice and it's an intriguing rum-based Old-Fashioned. It should be impossible. But put it all together and you've got an unprecedented and exciting drink, one that evolves on your tongue seemingly for minutes, a mojito with the kick of a Manhattan. By the time you've had your fill of them, it'll be winter all over again.
The Art of Choke:
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce Cynar
1/8 ounce fresh lime juice
1/8 ounce rich demerara-sugar syrup (2:1)
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse
Sprigs of mint
In a mixing glass, lightly bruise a mint sprig with a muddler, then add the other ingredients. Stir with ice for half a minute, then strain over fresh ice into an Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with another sprig of mint.
— Ross, assistant editor at Details

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