Foreign National

Flipping through the latest issue of the December Imbibe, I saw an interesting cocktail called the Foreign National from the eponymous cocktail bar in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. Luckily, the farmers’ market is across the street and we picked up some juicy and powerful ripe navel oranges (fun fact: navel orange season is actually November through April – making it more of a winter fruit).

Though the recipe calls for Seville oranges, these navel oranges were potently sweet and could hold up their own in the drink. The recipe recommends substituting 1/4 ounce of lime juice in with 3/4 oz of orange juice if you’re working with navel oranges, but we figured we knew better than them (these oranges weren’t weak!) and steamrolled ahead with fresh orange without the lime.

Turns out… they’re right. Navel orange juice is just too sweet, and it didn’t have enough bite (the first try was a bit cloyingly sweet).

The original recipe also calls for Amaro Montenegro, but we didn’t have any in our home bar, so in the name of science, we tried every amaro in our home bar to find a worthy substitute. The taste test included:

  • Bravo Amaro #1
  • Cynar 70
  • Bruto Americano
  • Amaro Sfumato
  • Campari
  • Amaro Lucano

In the first try, Amaro Lucano wasn’t strong enough and too sweet. To add more backbone, the second try used a 50/50 split between Bruto Americano and Cynar 70. It tasted like nutrasweet. Don’t do it

The third take used Campari, which worked! The bitter orange flavor in Campari melded well and still held up to the potent navel oranges. Our bastardized version ends up with Campari in place of the Montenegro and fresh navel orange juice and lime in place of Seville orange juice. And it’s damn tasty.

Original Recipe

By Adam Fortuna & Eric Johnson. Foreign National, Seattle.

  • 1.5 oz Pisco
  • 1 oz Seville Orange Juice
  • .25 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • .25 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
  • 3 dashes Orange Flower Water
Cocktail in front of Pisco bottle next to orange


  • 1.5 oz Pisco (Pisco Porton)
  • .25 oz Campari
  • 3 Dashes Orange Flower Water
  • .75 oz fresh Navel Orange Juice
  • .25 oz Lime Juice
  • .25 oz Honey Syrup 2:1 ratio


Cocktail Glass


  • Make honey syrup by mixing honey with water, 2 parts honey to 1 part water
  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail glass with ice
  • Shake, strain and serve

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