This recipe can be used for both cocktail hour and dessert. Developed by the bar team at The Betty, a restaurant at the Kimpton Sylvan Hotel in Atlanta, The Retropolitan is a strawberry-and-lime-flavored cocktail with bright fruit notes and enough acidity to keep it in balance. The Metropolitan flavor will remind you of a grown-up fruit punch. You won’t be able to stop drinking it.
This recipe begins with Aperol. The sweet, citrusy Italian liqueur is best known for its bright orange color and its role as the star in an Aperol Spritz. The strawberries are soaked in Aperol overnight for a quick infusion. This produces a peach-colored strawberry-infused Aperol that can be used in cocktails as well as boozy berries. These strawberries are a delicious and quick dessert when spooned on top of lemon sorbet. The combination of Aperol and sweet strawberries is delicious.
Cointreau (a slightly sweet orange-flavored liqueur) and freshly squeezed lime juice add a citrusy flavor and aroma that helps balance out the fruitier liqueur and syrup. The Retropolitan relies on the simplicity of vodka to make other ingredients stand out. Vodka is often dismissed as boring. However, it’s a key ingredient in this cocktail when so many flavors are competing with each other.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) Aperol
- 1/2 cup ripe strawberries, stemmed and quartered
- Three tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) vodka (such as Boyd & Blair)
- Two tablespoons (1 ounce) strawberry-infused Aperol
- One tablespoon (1/2 ounce) orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
- One tablespoon of fresh lime juice
- One teaspoon of simple syrup
- Fresh strawberries and a mint sprig for garnish
- Refrigerate for 24 hours after combining Aperol with strawberries. Strain the Aperol and put it aside. If desired, you can save the liqueur-soaked strawberry for another purpose.
- In a cocktail shaking glass filled with ice, combine vodka, strawberry-infused Aperol liqueur, and orange liqueur. Add simple syrup, lime juice, and the simple syrup. Shake for 15 seconds with the lid on. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish the drink with fresh strawberries and a mint leaf.