Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

Beginner’s Luck

Beginners Luck


1oz Aged Rum

1oz Blanco Tequila

3/4oz Cocchi Americano

3/4oz Aperol

2 dashes Cocoa Bitters

Orange Twist


Add the rum, tequila, Cocchi Americano, Aperol and bitters to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve up. Express the oils from the orange twist, rim the glass with the peel and then discard.


Very light aromatic nose with hints of citrus, quinine and a hint of cocoa. When making it at home I substituted Bittermens Mole Bitters. Almost a bit smokey with the mole bitters, the sweet and smooth aged rum pairs nicely with blanco tequila, which lightens things up a bit, providing just enough agave flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. The tequila leads the palate, followed by the rum. Notes of burnt sugar, citrus, quinine and rhubarb. Just sweet and light enough to be refreshing, while the cocoa/mole bitters gives a chocolate laced almost mescal like finish, that is just bitter enough to leave you longing for another taste of the sweeter front end.

Beginners Luck 2


Look for more drinks from Sable Kitchen and Bar soon.

Beginner’s Luck was created spur of the moment for me at Sable Kitchen and Bar in Chicago by Alex Renshaw. To those who haven’t been, this place is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Apart from an extensive menu of both unique originals and classic cocktails, these folks are great at creating drinks on the fly as well. Beginner’s Luck stemmed from a request for Alex to make me something refreshing yet a little bitter.

While superficially it might sound a bit like a Negroni variation, it certainly doesn’t like one. Very smooth with the aged rum (Alex used El Dorado 15), lightened by the tequila (he used El Jimador Blanco), the bitter in the Aperol and Cocchi Americano make up a smaller component and thus fade beautifully into the background a bit; essential, yet not overpowering. The real star that ties this one together is the cocao bitters (he used house made, I went for Bittermens Mole Bitters, but I would imagine any chocolate-esque biters would be good).

Beginners luck 3


I also tried this with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Pisco. Interestingly different but in the same spirit as Alex’s creation. I imagine Mezcal in place of tequila would also make for a nice smokey variation.

2 Responses to “Beginner’s Luck”

  1. Takeoff | The Straight Up

    […] A few months ago, I was out in Chicago at Sable Kitchen and Bar (check out Alex Renshaw’s Beginner’s Luck). Mike Ryan, top dog at Sable, made me a weird Negroni riff with Malort for gin, Aperol for Campari […]


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