Crimson Sour: A Low-ABV Holiday Cocktail - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Crimson Sour: A Low-ABV Holiday Cocktail

Crimson Sour low-abv holiday cocktail

A citrusy drink to brighten up winter.

Perfect for wintertime gatherings, this low-ABV holiday cocktail by Natasha David, author of Drink Lightly showcases the bounty citrus season. “Besides being glorious to look at, it is beautifully sweet and possesses an intoxicating, almost overripe, raspberry taste,” she writes in her book.


  • 1 1/2 oz. full-bodied sweet (red) vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. fresh blood orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. cacao nib Campari
  • 1/2 oz. vanilla syrup
  • _____________________
  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Cacao Nib Campari
  • 25g cacao nibs
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Campari
  • _____________________
  • 500g simple syrup (1:1)
  • 4g Tahitian vanilla extract
  • 2g lactic acid
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • Tools:shaker, strainer
  • Glass:double rocks
  • Garnish:blood orange crescent and lemon wheel


Combine the sweet vermouth, lemon juice, blood orange juice, cacao-infused Campari, and syrup in a shaker. Add ice and give it a short shake. Strain into a double rocks glass over crushed ice. Top with more ice and snow-cone it. Garnish with a blood orange crescent and lemon wheel. Serve with a straw.

Cacao Nib Campari

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, fill a basin with water and set an immersion circulator to 130°F. Spread the cacao nibs in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and dark brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool. Combine with the Campari in a sealable, heatproof silicone bag, making sure to push out all the air. Once the circulator has reached the desired temperature, place the sealed bag in the water bath. Let cook for 2 hours. Once done, transfer the infusion to an ice bath until it reaches room temperature. Strain through a chinois. Rebottle and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

No sous vide? In a large sealable container, combine the cooled toasted cacao nibs with the Campari. Cover and let sit for 24 hours. Strain through a chinois.

Vanilla Syrup

In a medium bowl, combine the syrup, vanilla extract, lactic acid, and salt. Using a whisk, combine until the lactic acid and salt are dissolved. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

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