— Jenny Neill

House Cocktails: The Better Part of Valor

What do Scrappy’s Bitters, “Fox Zilla,” and Shakespeare all have in common? Each shares a fondness for the complex. We might never know what the Bard of Avon himself preferred to drink. Surely though, he was fond of his character Falstaff, the cowardly knight who recited the famous line this week’s House Cocktail is named after. Attributed to Allison Webber (aka Fox Zilla), The Better Part of Valor balances bitter, sweet, and herbal notes in one of my favorite sip-it-slow drinks.

Head of a Falstaff statue

Photo courtesy of shotsbystevo. Some rights reserved.

I first tried a sip of this heady mix of gin, Cocchi Americano, Amaro Nonino, and Fernet when my photographer husband asked for “something with Fernet” while out on the town in Seattle a few years back. We’ve revisited it numerous times since after investing in our own at-home bottle of Fernet-Branca. This month, we sampled the Scrappy’s Bitters take on it. Minor tweaks to the proportions of Cocchi and Amaro Nonino allow a couple of dashes of Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters to play along in this symphony of spirits.

Use your own discretion, of course. I like this drink both ways. So, tonight, I toast the Fox who created it! You can find Webber—who earned her cocktailing bonafides in a string of jobs in Portland, Oregon—still slinging Fernet-based concoctions at Jaspar’s Corner Tap and Kitchen.