Everyday Cooking

The Pessimist's Requiem

August 12, 2013

Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.

Today: Jenny finds a new drink. 

Pessimist Requiem from Food52

Shop the Story

So listen everyone, I might be late to Cynar but guess what? That is all I want to drink right now. This may end up like Aperol, which I bought two bottles of last summer, sucked down nightly and promptly forgot about for a year. But for now, Cynar and soda is where it is at for Jenny. 

But ProfPessimist, who I visit with in Los Angeles annually in part because he has a very, very good home bar, had other ideas. He would take some recipes he found on the interweb, fiddle around with them, and create the perfect Cynar cocktail.  

All of this unfolded the way it does each year: the Prof, aka Joshua, poured a whole lot of booze into his shaker and we sipped away at many largely undrinkable beverages until, mildly shit-faced, we stumbled upon something close to sublime.

Joshua’s wife, as if on cue, ambled down the stairs from her latest Google search on where to procure the best Biángbiáng noodles in Los Angeles county and tried the concoction while we, glassy-eyed and overly excitable, looked out hopefully as she, an avid wine drinker, proclaimed it: good, not her thing.

Well The Pessimist's Requiem is your thing people, a perfect mix of Cynnar’s bitter, sort of vegetal goodness that, like Campari and Aperol, pairs so well with citrus, and topped with a bit of vermouth and bitters. 

Shake, pour, sip, repeat. 

The Pessimist's Requiem by ProfPessimist

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces Cynar liqueur
1 ounce gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Dash orange bitters (Fee Brother's preferred)
1 thick orange peel

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • the totally not-foolish pucko
    the totally not-foolish pucko
  • mrslarkin
  • sinosoul
  • k.woody

Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


cucina D. August 12, 2013
I am Italian and Cynar was a household item and used in many drink recipes in our famiglia. This herbal bitter blend that includes artichokes and as many as 12 other ingredients is a favorite of mine still today, served over ice with lemon twist as an aperitif or in drink recipes from my past. I will be featuring Cynar on my blog soon as we approach the fall and winter season. Thanks for this great article and bringing Cynar to the forefront again.
Jestei August 12, 2013
I look forward to reading your piece on this great ingredient.
the T. August 12, 2013
Cynar get's surprisingly little love. I like to think it's somebody's attempt to make Coke with herbs. It's kind of got a deep brown herbal kind of thing going- like horehound candy...
Jestei August 12, 2013
well i would say it is definitely not pushed at bars. its almost like a not secret secret.
mrslarkin August 12, 2013
holy crap i'm obsessed with those noodles so i tried to make my own: http://food52.com/recipes/20709-long-life-noodle-soup

nice drink
Jestei August 12, 2013
wow next jenny?
mrslarkin August 12, 2013
sure! they are crazy fun to make. sconegirl had a blast helping me. watch the video first, if you do try them. the link is in my header.
sinosoul August 12, 2013
J, you're so crazy. Anyhow, there's only "one" place in all of LA to get biangbiang noodles... Shaanxi Gourmet.
Jestei August 12, 2013
ok will you take me there next time?
sinosoul August 12, 2013
Absolutely. Just stop escaping from LA so unceremoniously next time.
k.woody August 12, 2013
This sounds delicious. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes weird Italian liqueurs haha. We did a bit of experimenting ourselves - turns out cynar and bourbon are also a match made in heaven: http://neighborhoodkitchensf.com/blog/2013/3/28/qk90zhdr576xeslmsh1aa4y2zlcr7m
Jestei August 12, 2013
i like you post
pierino August 12, 2013
I love Italian apertivi, in part because of their low alcohol content (when left by their ownselves). Cynar is interesting because it's vegetable component is mostly artichoke.
Jestei August 12, 2013
yes it is really something.
Rochelle B. August 12, 2013
Yes! Yes, yes, yes. The addition of bitters will, I believe, make this the most perfectly perfect drink I can hope to encounter.
Jestei August 12, 2013
Don't you love all these cool bitters out there?
Rochelle B. August 12, 2013
Rhubarb! <3