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Watch Inkwell's Chris Gatchell Mix Italian-Inspired Emilia Romagna

Welcome to a Cocktail Week edition of The Hot Dish, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a craveable cocktail.

Since The Press Hotel opened in May, the boutique spot has made a serious name for itself with the local crowd as well as visitors. That's due in part to the strength of its restaurant, Union, and its bar, The Inkwell, run by veteran Chris Gatchell.

Gatchell believes, "Bars should use quality spirits that can be augmented and enhanced by seasonal and relevant ingredients. Most spirits are amazing on their own; however, when we have the seasonal changes in the northeast along with amazing bitters and products available by local artisans (Coastal Root, Owl and Whale, etc.), it offers the chance to create unique drinks and hold consistency within cocktails."

One of those unique drinks, created for The Inkwell's new fall menu, is the Emilia Romagna, which starts off with one and a half ounces of Tito's Handmade Vodka and 3/4 of an ounce of Inkwell's house-made orange clove syrup, shaken and strained into a champagne flute. It's then floated with Lambrusco — a sweet, sparkling Italian red wine — and garnished with an orange twist. See Gatchell mix this citrus- and spice-infused libation above.

"The inspiration for the drink comes from my love for Lambrusco and the fact that a majority of the grapes originated and are grown in the [northern Italian] region Emilia Romagna," the bartender tells Eater. It's simple, elegant, and available at Union and The Inkwell now.


119 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 808-8700

Press Hotel

119 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 808-8800

The Inkwell

119 Exchange St., Portland, ME 04101 (877) 890-5641 Visit Website