And here we are; through the classics and on to the first Death & Co. original cocktail, the Bella Luna. Death & Co. now organizes the book by primary spirit / technique. So, we’re starting with shaken gin drinks, and we’ll eventually move on to stirred gin drinks, before leaving gin and moving on to rum in the same fashion.
With a rosy pink hue, the Bella Luna cocktail has a certain romance to it. The name doesn’t hurt either; Italian for “beautiful moon”, this is a cocktail full of nostalgia and imagery, though as far as I can tell, not named after anything in particular as the D&Co. crew like to do. If anything, it seems like a variation on the Blue Moon or Moonlight cocktails, which feature the same essential ingredients aside from the St. Germain, which is added here.
A Fitting Tribute for Rob Cooper
Photo: The Aspen Times
As fate would have it though, beautiful moon ends up being a fitting if melancholy tribute to Rob Cooper, a young titan of the spirits business. Most people don’t have any idea who Rob Cooper was, but in the spirits world he was a unique innovator and symbol of a new age of entrepreneurs pushing the beverage space forward. Cooper and his company invented and distributed the primary flavors in the Bella Luna: St. Germain and Creme Yvette. Sadly, between the time I first mixed this drink in February and now, Cooper died from unknown causes at just 39 years old. What you have to love about Rob Cooper is that even though he came from spirits royalty (his father made a fortune distributing Chambord in the US) he left the company business to start his own project, despite the skeptical reception from dear old dad.
Cooper not only got his dream off the ground he made it a massive success. St. Germain is such a popular and versatile ingredient that people refer to it as bartender’s ketchup, since you can put it on anything and it tastes great. Creme Yvette is less well known, though still features a number of times in the D&Co. book and in my view is certainly worth picking up. It’s the hipster version of Chambord in many ways. Sweet, raspberry, violet and spice flavors and a great match for gin based drinks and an interesting sub for Creme de Violette in the Aviation cocktail.
Bella Luna Cocktail Review
The Bella Luna has a luxe, smooth taste to it. It’s full of floral, sweet berry flavors which play well with the soft and delicate quality of the Plymouth gin. It’s a great showpiece for the St. Germain and Creme Yvette which play the leading roles here. If you wanted to criticize it for anything you might say there’s not enough lemon juice and it feels a bit muted without a bit more acid. But it’s hard to see how anyone doesn’t love this. Mix one up and toast Mr. Cooper.
Rating: 4 / 5
Bella Luna Cocktail (adapted from Death & Co.)
- 2 oz. Gin (Plymouth)
- 3/4 oz. St. Germain
- 1/2 oz . Creme Yvette
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Simple Syrup
Combine all ingredients in a tin and shake with ice, then strain into a port or Nick & Nora glass. No Garnish.