Last updated on December 28th, 2020
Having been a word nerd from a young age, I love to throw around adjectives that might seem a little highfalutin’ for the situation, but the word “incongruous” has been running through my mind ever since I sipped this cocktail.
And since this happened long before the Christmas holidays rolled around, you can tell I’ve been thinking about this word—and this drink—for a while.
It was autumn when I met up with my fellow oyster- and booze-lover Autumn, following through on our plan to introduce her to the architectural and gustatory glories of the Grand Central Oyster Bar.
Feeling a bit grandiose and celebratory after filling our stomachs with chilled oyster bellies, we repaired upstairs to the Campbell Apartment, another of Manhattan’s semi-hidden treasures.
The Campbell Apartment, despite what its name implies, was never a private apartment.
Back in the 1920s, when titans of industry could do such things as live in buildings like Grand Central, banker and railroad magnate John W. Campbell used the rooms as his private office and salon.
Now it’s a bar—er, excuse me, it’s a “cocktail lounge.”
It’s a dark, imposing space with high ceilings, double-height leaded glass windows, walls lined in deep, walnut-toned wood, and is often filled with Midtowny masters of the universe in their button-down shirts.
Swank, old-world power and masculinity is very much on display at the Campbell Apartment; it’s the kind of place where you want to drink a Manhattan or at the very least, a nice tumbler of Scotch.
Yet somehow I ended up ordering the girliest thing on the menu.
Clearly inspired by the classic Italian Aperol spritz, the drink I chose mixed the bitter aperitvo Aperol with another Italian standard, Carpano Antica vermouth, and a healthy glug of fresh blood orange juice.
The bitter Aperol fell to the background, the warm cinnamon-and-vanilla notes of the Carpano blended with the orange juice, and the whole thing became a refreshingly sweet drink that… well, it tasted like a Creamsicle in a glass.
Drinking a sugary pink cocktail would have been appropriate for a beach bar or even a patio somewhere in Brooklyn, but in the middle of Manhattan’s most manly, swank, and historic spaces felt very out of place.
Hence the words incongruous, contradictory, out of place, running through my head.
But damn if the drink wasn’t good. If it weren’t $14, I do believe I would have ordered another.
Luckily, these Creamsicle cocktails are cinch to make at home, with only three ingredients necessary to transport you to a sunny clime… or a dark, opulent wood-and-marble-paneled bar in a landmark setting, as you do.
Carpano’s a pricey bottle of liquor to buy, but it lasts for a few months in the refrigerator, so it’s a worthwhile outlay of cash.
And if blood oranges aren’t in season, feel free to substitute Cara Caras, Valencias, or the juice from plain old navel oranges in the Creamsicle cocktails. Just make sure to juice ’em fresh for the drink.
- 1 cup freshly squeezed and strained blood orange juice (from 4-5 oranges), plus orange wheels for garnish
- 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) Carpano Antica vermouth
- 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) Aperol
- plain or orange seltzer
- Fill two rocks glasses or highball glasses with crushed ice or small ice cubes.
- Stir the blood orange juice, Carpano, and Aperol together in a pint glass or half of a Boston shaker.
- Pour evenly between the two prepared glasses and top with seltzer.
- Garnish with orange wheels.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 2g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.