The Bella Rose Cocktail (a smooth variation on a Negroni)

by Rachel on May 18, 2013

The Bella Rose, a before-dinner cocktail loosely based on The Negroni

This is a variation of a drink I had at The Corner Door in Culver City, California. The Corner Door’s drink is called The King’s Assassin and is loosely based on the Negroni (gin, sweet vermouth and bitters – fondly referred to by many as the granddaddy of all before-dinner cocktails). The Corner Door uses Cocchi Americano in its drink, which – according to Serious Eats, is a slightly bitter version of Lillet Rose. You see originally Lillet Rose, a popular French aperitif that is used in many traditional cocktails, included quinine, which made it bitter tasting. Quinine was initially consumed to help prevent Malaria and over time people developed a taste for its bitterness and began to include it in cocktails of various types. In 1986 the French dropped the quinine in Lillet Rose and it became a smoother, less tart aperitif. In the last two years an Italian aperitif has surfaced that includes quinine and is, according to bartenders in the know, a near copy of the old formulation of Lillet Rose. The King’s Assassin includes gin, sweet vermouth, Salers, Cocchi Americano and Cointreau. My version uses Lillet Rose and a hint of simple syrup in addition to gin, dry (not sweet) vermouth, Salers and Cointreau, and although it has some of the same essence of The King’s Assassin, it is a smoother cocktail with far less bite and less acidity. It’s meant to be consumed before dinner, or with an appetizer course. It packs a pretty serious punch in terms of alcohol content. More than one of these and you won’t remember to have dinner.


The Bella Rose (makes two cocktails)

  • 1 ½-oz gin
  • 1-oz dry vermouth
  • 1-oz Salers
  • 1-oz Lillet Rose
  • 1-oz Cointreau
  • ½-oz simple syrup

Pour all of the ingredients over ice in a drink shaker. Shake hard. Strain and serve.

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