So, like I keep telling everyone who cares to listen, I don't compete in cocktail competitions anymore. I took a couple of tough losses over the years to totally crap drinks judged by drunk media and P.R. types in bars completely unprepared for the events. That being said, I just found out I am a semifinalist an Averna competition. The finalist are all going to Sicily...which is in Italy...which is totally worth me selling out one more time.
Here is the drink and I am actually pretty happy about it. The first time I had Averna, it was served along coffee and chocolate biscotti and it was a rocking good combo. It still evokes an urge for chocolate when I taste it today. To respond to this, I took a couple of other ingredients that mesh well with chocolate....and well, they click. I call this technique of building drinks around flavors that are not actually present 'echoing' and it is very useful when stuck on a hard-to-pair element.
3/4 oz. Averna
1/4 oz. Maraschino
1/4 oz. Mandarin Napoleon
1/4 oz. Hangar One Chipotle (or Chipotle tincture or couple of hits of Tabasco in a pinch)
4 oz. Sparkling Wine
Built in flute and garnished with a nice healthy orange zest.