Cognac, the New Black

Lato Auto, as served at Lavo Italian Restaurant in the Palazzo, $14

Sometimes a great cocktail begins with just one great ingredient and takes off from there. “I love how user-friendly Hennessy Black is to mix in cocktails, and I wanted to showcase the usability in a classic cocktail with a twist,” says Tao Group director of beverage, Edward Allen. His inspiration lies with the classic Sidecar, traditionally made with Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice. For his Italian take, the Lato Auto (literally, “side” and “car” in Italian), Allen uses Bertagnoli brand limoncello as “it has a great viscosity and balance.” A sunny afternoon on the Lavo patio with a Lato Auto in-hand sounds like a good start in achieving that balance.

Combine 1¾ ounces Hennessy Black, 1 ounce Bertagnoli limoncello, 1 ounce Grand Marnier and ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a snifter and garnish with a lemon slice.

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Mango Snow Ice with Boba at Tea Station

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Mango Snow Ice with Boba at Tea Station

Despite its name change from Tea Planet, this is still a local favorite, offering a wide variety of tea and coffee drinks in the heart of Chinatown. Best saved for the warmest of days, the snow ice drinks come in an array of flavors and can be ordered either with or without boba (tapioca balls). If you’re a tropical fruit lover, try the mango flavor, and don’t skip on the boba. The gelatinous texture may take some getting used to, but they’re a fun surprise when they sneak up the straw. $6.22 for medium, 4355 Spring Mountain Road, 889-9989.

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