Close your eyes and imagine you are lounging on the sunny streets of Siena, in the Tuscan hills of Italy. In your hand is a cool refreshing aperitif made with Campari, white wine and soda water – essentially a variation on the Campari Spritz. This simple and simply delicious indulgence is often called “La Bicicletta”, ostensibly named after an old man who would wobble his way home on his bicycle after imbibing a few. Like many cocktail names, this story is full of romantic imagery and thin on potential reality.

Never fear, however, because we are only passing through this Italian town on our way to Portland, Oregon, where acclaimed mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler helms the ship at Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel. His version of La Bicicletta swaps the Campari for the artichoke laced herbal digestif Cynar, an amaro that is perfect for cocktails. Traditionally enjoyed by old Italian men over ice, the success and popularity of Cynar in the US was a bit of a surprise. It does not actually taste like artichokes, but is in fact a rather rich and sweet amaro with a lovely flavor. Morgenthaler uses it effortlessly in his pre-bottled soda spritz, creating a refreshing sipper with an intriguingly different flavor that’s always ready to go. These are great to make for a picnic or late afternoon indulgence. They are also low in alcohol content, to keep your bicycle wobbling to a minimum. Cheers!


Broken Bike by Jeff Morgenthaler (single serving adaptation)

11 ounces Cynar (¾ oz)

15 ounces white wine, dry (1 oz)

22 ounces filtered water (1 ½ oz soda water)

2 small lemons, scrubbed and peeled in strips (lemon strip)

Express lemon peel oils into mixed ingredients and let sit overnight. Carbonate and bottle. Or mix up the single serving and enjoy immediately! Garnish with a broken lime wheel. Cheers!


For more about the Trike puzzle box see:

Boxes and Booze: Planes Trains and Automobiles