MxMo: The Christmas Curmudgeon

It’s Mixology Monday time again. This month’s theme comes courtesy of Rated R Cocktails. Mr. R is clearly not a fan of the holidays because the theme is Bah Humbug! With that in mind, Christa thought of drinks strong enough to help you survive the family get-togethers, Shaun came up with the name (being a curmudgeon himself), and we went from there.

So what would a curmudgeon drink? We both immediately thought it needed to be a fairly bitter drink. Christa chose Branca Menta as a starting point, since it is bitter but also minty and a little camphor-y, perfect for a holiday cocktail. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it is made by the same distillery as Fernet Branca. Branca Menta is not for the faint of heart, but more approachable then Fernet. We then went looking for a good strong base spirit. We chose rye because of it’s strong character, plus it seems like something a good curmudgeon would be drinking. We then pulled out the Ramazzotti Amaro (note the site loads *very* slowly) to add some lovely sweet root beer and black licorice notes, and of course more bitterness. We then experimented with our proportions and settled on 4 parts rye, 2 parts Ramazzotti, and 1 part Branca Menta. We liked that flavor profile, but felt it needed a little bit more brightness and bitterness.  Because after all even the most die hard curmudgeon gets a wee smile during the holidays, but needs to temper it so as not to appear too cheery. So we went with some orange bitters and an orange twist. That helped tie the drink together. We present to you The Christmas Curmudgeon:


The Christmas Curmudgeon

  • 2 oz rye
  • 1 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
  • 1/2 oz Branca Menta
  • 3.4 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 pinch salt

Stir with ice, strain and garnish with an orange twist.


  • A little bit of spiciness, some barrel notes from the rye, a hint of orange zest. Surprisingly no mint, though there are some faint menthol notes.


    • Sweet root beer-y notes with a hint of orange to start, then a big punch of bitter, followed by the vanilla, caramel, and spice of the whiskey. Menthol and mint surface after that, then you ease into a long, bitter finish. Given the heavy nature of the rye (we used Thomas Handy) and the sugar from the amaro, this has a very rich mouth feel. As it warms up, there’s more of the menthol in the mid-palate.

This is a nice strong drink that we hope will help numb you through the festivities, plus you can turn to it for refreshment after telling those damn kids to get off of your lawn. Enjoy!

Update: The round up is now live. Head on over and check our some of the other excellent submissions.

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3 Responses to MxMo: The Christmas Curmudgeon

  1. theboolion says:

    That looks delicious. If only I had access to Ramazzotti Amaro. Or Branca Menta. (Or, for that matter, rye).

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