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The Italian Manhattan

Save the cocoa for the kids. Christmakwanzakah is fast approaching and if visions of fractured family get-togethers are dancing in your head (#election2016), you could probably use an adult beverage. And, while you’re at it, some carbohydrates, because God knows you’ll need more than those vegan smoothies to power your through your nieces’ repeated renditions of that deranged carol, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

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The Melo Mela

Check both boxes at D’Amico’s Italian Market Café, which thanks to its nascent architectural expansion, now includes a full bar and accompanying seasonal cocktail menu. We took one for the team and sampled some of the new mixological offerings, such as the Mellow Mela, an appropriately laid-back collaboration of whiskey, cynar and hard cider that boasts soothing notes of apple and spice.

Multiple forkfuls of D’Amico’s enviable fettuccine Alfredo and their signature crawfish ravioli — supple pockets packed with crawdads, poblano peppers, scallions, garlic and ricotta cheese in crema rosa sauce — almost distracted us from completing our boozy due diligence. However, we revived ourselves lest any carbohydrate coma ensue via sips of their Italian Manhattan. D’Amico’s version of the classic whiskey drink benefits from Mediterranean inflections of zucca amaro, a rhubarb-based aperitivo, as well as some heady cherry bitters.

Literally and figuratively flush with cocktails and calories, respectively, we finished our tasting with some of D’Amico’s gelato, sourced from nearby Fellini Caffè. However, had it not been a school night, us crazy kids might have indulged in one final post-prandial libation in the form of the Limoncello Collins, made with Hendrick's Gin, limoncello, lemon juice, simple syrup and basil leaves. Next time. Christmakwanzakah season ain’t over yet. 

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