At first glance at its list of ingredients, the Psycho Killer might make you want to run, run, run, run, run, run, run away. It’s a combination of Irish whiskey, white creme de cacao, banana liqueur and coffee nib-infused Campari, which on paper is a chaotic mix of elements. However, this silky nightcap comes from bartending veteran Jillian Vose of New York City’s famed Irish bar, The Dead Rabbit, so you can rest assured that it’s a quality concoction.
Being from The Dead Rabbit, it’s no surprise that the drink starts with an Irish whiskey, especially one of such high quality as Redbreast 12-year-old. It’s a bit pricey for a spirit that goes into a mixed drink, but the strength and quality of Redbreast means that it will still shine through. You can, however, mix it up and use something less expensive.
One key element that makes the Psycho Killer so deliciously indulgent is the cocoa nib-infused Campari. This bittersweet Italian liqueur pairs surprisingly well with chocolate, and once you have it made you can also use it to punch up your favorite Negroni or Boulevardier recipe. The Psycho Killer gets even more chocolate, though, with the addition of white creme de cacao. It’s important to use the white creme variety—which is actually generally clear—or the drink will become cloudy and off-balance.
The Psycho Killer also calls for a half-ounce of Giffard Banane du Brésil, which is one of the few high-quality banana liqueurs on the market. Banana is a natural pairing with chocolate, and it works surprisingly well to add depth and complexity in the Psycho Killer, without making it too sweet.
If the combinations didn’t seem strange enough already, the drink also gets two dashes of absinthe. The licorice and anise flavors of the absinthe shouldn’t come through too loudly; instead, it acts much like bitters do in a cocktail, giving the drink depth and nuance and enhancing the other ingredients. The result is lush, rich and bold without being overly sweet or cloying. Though the Psycho Killer calls for a fair amount of ingredients, it may become a fixture in your home bar.
- 2 ounces Redbreast 12-year-old Irish whiskey
- 3/4 ounce cocoa nib–infused Campari*
- 1/2 ounce Marie Brizard white creme de cacao
- 1/2 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
- 2 dashes absinthe
Add the Irish whiskey, cocoa nib–infused Campari, white creme de cacao and banana liqueur into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
*Cocoa nib–infused Campari: Add 3 tablespoons cocoa nibs to 1 liter Campari and let infuse for one hour. Strain out solids and discard.