Every time I visit the bar-tending professionals at Carnevino in Las Vegas, I come away with a revived appreciation for the bar-tending craft.  And trust me when I hyphenate this word.  They are tending a bar.  Be prepared to feel taken care of.  They’ll remember your name, keep your water glass full (which is a HUGE bonus in the middle of the desert), and I’m pretty sure most of them are blessed with some form of Cocktail ESP. Seriously.  It’s like they’re inside my head.

When David “Coop” Cooper placed this little glass of heaven in front of me and declared it “The Afterthought”,  I knew it was anything but…

It was an unassuming little rocks glass, filled with monstrous aromatics.  I was totally entranced: baking spices and citrus, fennel pollen and a hint of tobacco or chocolate.  On the palate it was cool, refreshing and full of those warm, falling leaves, fireplace- burning, cool-weather flavors.

I tried to pull the recipe out of him, but Coop just smiled and said something vague and elusive about Meletti Amaro and Ketel One Citroen.  I think there was some kind of ginger element as well.  This cocktail was compelling, and it was crafted just for me, the geeked-out Italiophile who loves amari.

This is the real art of bar-tending.

And trust me, it’s not an afterthought.