Who says sweet drinks can’t be complex, interesting, and classy? Not us! The May Day, from former PDT bartender Jane Danger, is a sweet-tart candy in a glass, with lovely citrus and floral undertones.
Typically, we’re not too fussy when it comes to the sparkling wine we use in a sweet drink, but the May Day is an exception. Danger’s recipe calls for Moët Imperial Champagne, a pricey option, but it makes sense here – anything but a really good, richly-flavored sparkling wine will get lost among the intense flavors of rhubarb bitters and the bitter-sweet orange apéritif (Danger calls for Aperol; Cappalletti could work, but would be much more bitter).
The original recipe as published in The PDT Cocktail Book specifically directs the reader to serve without garnish, but doesn’t explain why. We hope we’re not violating some unspoken rule or invoking an ancient bartender’s curse when we make ours with a big lemon twist; the scent of fresh lemon oil is just such an irresistible complement to the May Day’s tart, juicy aroma.
- ½ part Gin
- ½ part Sweet orange apéritif
- ½ part Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Simple syrup
- 3 drops Rhubarb bitters
- 2 part Sparkling white wine
Add everything (except the sparkling wine) to a chilled champagne flute. Stir and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.
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- From The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan