Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Other Cocktails

Bit of Tongue

Bit of Tongue cocktail in a flute with a long twist of orange peel
Erin Trimble

The Bit of Tongue is an original cocktail from spirits pro Nic Christiansen. She created the drink while working as the beverage director at Lola in Louisville, Kentucky. It starts with bittersweet Aperol, adding absinthe, grapefruit shrub and sparkling wine to the mix. For that absinthe, she chooses locally produced Copper & Kings Absinthe Superior, which brings classic anise flavor, as well as floral and citrus notes.

Shrubs, which are often referred to as drinking vinegars, are a great way to add fruit flavors to a cocktail. Most shrubs combine water, fruit, sugar and vinegar to create an acidic syrup that adds depth and complexity when mixed into drinks. In this case, Christiansen makes the shrub with grapefruit juice and zest, plus apple cider vinegar.

“I enjoy using grapefruit in a shrub because it allows the brightness and flavor of the grapefruit to come through and cuts down on the typical tartness of the grapefruit,” she says. “Allowing the acid from the apple cider vinegar and the sugar to lift the grapefruit flavor [creates] a more complex grapefruit flavor.”

The shrub is easy to make at home and only requires a few ingredients and about 20 minutes of cook time on the stove. Once you master the grapefruit shrub, you can attempt other versions featuring fruits like pineapple and peach.


  • 1 ounce Aperol

  • 1 teaspoon Copper & Kings Absinthe Superior

  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit shrub*

  • Cava, chilled, to top

  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Add the Aperol, absinthe and grapefruit shrub into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled flute, and top with the cava.

  3. Garnish with an orange twist.

*Grapefruit shrub: Combine 2 cups sugar, 2 1⁄2 cups grapefruit juice, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and the zest of the juiced grapefruits in a saucepan. Simmer ingredients over medium heat, stirring for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain out solids, let cool, and store in the refrigerator.