“Gifts of the Magi” (an Epiphany cocktail)


  • 1oz Rye (for Gold)
  • 1oz Campari (for Myrrh)
  • 1oz Averna (for Frankincense)
  • .25oz Fernet Branca (optional)
  • Garnish with a trinity of Lemon, Lime, and Orange peels

Stir all ingredients in mixing glass and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with a peel each of lemon, lime, and orange.

* * * *

Tonight begins the season of Epiphany, a season that covers a lot of ground thematically and in the life of Christ. It begins January 6, with a celebration of the Wise Men visiting Jesus when he was three years old–and that’s what tonight’s cocktail is for.

At its core, it’s a riff on a Boulevardier, but wow is it good and different than the original. I think I prefer it. The Averna lends a lot of depth and complexity that vermouth often lacks.

The drink is in honor of the Magi. The Bible does not specify how many their were, but tradition says three. So we have here an equal three parts cocktail for each of the Wise Men’s gifts.

Rye gives its beautiful golden hue. “Myrrh” comes from the Aramaic word for “bitter”, so Campari it is. Lastly, my understanding is that Frankincense has a piney, sweet taste/aroma with a touch of orange, and this sounds a lot like Averna, my favorite amaro.

This drink is fantastic like this, but if you want an extra bit of depth and meaning, throw in a bar spoon of Fernet Branca which, to me, is the most “Epiphany” spirit out there–dark and bitter, with that bright minty note breaking through. I love it, and it complements the drink really well, though I know it’s an acquired taste.

Like this cocktail, I hope this season of Epiphany (and it’s interesting and unexpected melange of holy days) is one full of meaning, depth, and complexity for you. Cheers!


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