Basil is an herb with supernatural significance in some cultures. And this drink is supernaturally tasty, with the Italian Amaro Meletti providing the gentle complexity and basil the top note of spice.
This cocktail is named for two lovers who make an appearance in Boccaccio's early Italian Renaissance masterpiece The Decameron.
Here's the short version: Lisabetta loves Lorenzo but her brothers despise the union and end up killing Lorenzo and hiding his body. Through a dream-vision, Lisabetta finds Lorenzo's body and returns home with his head, which she buries in a pot with basil and waters daily with her tears.
The basil flourishes and eventually the brothers discover Lorenzo's head at the bottom of the pot. They have it removed from the house, whereupon Lisabetta cries herself to death. (Read the full story here.)
And here we thought Scandal was crazy.
Let's raise a glass to Lisabetta's enduring love, and to the passionate Italian culture that brings us the many Amari that continue to add spice to our current cocktail renaissance.
2 oz. Rye Whiskey
.5 oz. Amaro Meletti
.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 sprig Fresh Sweet Basil
Instead of muddling the basil, shake it along with everything else over ice. Then double strain into your most elegant glass and float a single basil leaf on the surface.