Debbie, Don’t.

There’s a ghost in my house bar…

Debbie, Don’t.

Created by Zachary Gelnaw-Rubin, former protege of the late cocktail legend Sasha Petraske the Debbie, Don’t had always put me off with its kinda dumb name. Supposedly it has some connection to a ghost which haunts the toilets at Dutch Kills cocktail bar but it all sounds a bit Harry Potter to me. I’m not a fan of cocktail names that are too opaque – even if I might fall prey to that vice now and then myself. Eventually I got over my grumpy self by just actually trying it. Just as well because in addition to being a rather tasty delight the Debbie, Don’t (sigh) is also a wonderfully simple drink to put together – as long as you are possession of a decent amaro*. The original recipe calls for Averna in equal quantity to some reposado tequila and a little lemon juice and maple syrup which puts it in that rather interesting “hybrid” category which falls between the sour and the aromatic cocktail families (my own Bobby Cee would be another example). While there are not too many drinks in this twilight zone it’s a style that I find refreshingly different and I sense that we’ll be exploring it more deeply in the near future.

Being the habitual tinkerer that I am I’ve messed with Zack’s supernaturally inspired creation by switching the amaro (I find Averna a bit too “earthy”) and bringing the tequila flavour a little more to the fore and thus I present two recipes beneath; firstly the original and then my slight twist for which we’ll just re-jig the name ever so slightly 😉


Debbie, Don’t.

1oz/30ml Averna (Italian amaro).

1oz/30ml reposado tequila (100% agave).

0.75oz/22ml fresh lemon juice.

0.5oz/15ml maple syrup (the real stuff!)

Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

No garnish.

Toast the ghost.


Dee Dee.

0.75oz/22ml Ramazzotti or Lucano** (Italian amari).

1.25oz/37ml reposado tequila (100% agave).

0.75oz/22ml fresh lemon juice.

0.5oz/15ml maple syrup (the right stuff!)

Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

No garnish.

Toast Dee Dee Ramone (1951 – 2002).


*If not then you’re in serious danger of being struck off the Noble Register of Cocktailistas.

**Either of these two work very nicely by each are subtly different. Try other amari if you like and feel free to share your insights in the comments.

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