singani, lies & videotape – a Cocktail Inspired by the Steven Soderbergh Film



This original drink uses Singani, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud’s Bitters and a Maraschino Cherry for garnish. Obviously the drink is named after Steven Soderbergh’s, first film, sex, lies and videotape. It’s a little like a Manhattan ( or a Bobby Burns (

The base spirit, Singani, was one of Bolivia’s best kept secrets for centuries. It’s an eau de vie from the Bolivian Alps and has been unavailable outside of Bolivia for most of its existence. Luckily for everyone outside of Bolivia, Singani is making its way to the rest of the world. This is thanks, in large part, to the efforts of Steven Soderbergh, the man behind Singani 63. In honor of that, the drink was named as an allusion to his first creation from his day job as Oscar-award-winning filmmaker.

I considered naming the drink, “One Key,” an obscure reference to the main character’s personal philosophy, but “singani, lies & videotape” is more direct and more tongue-in-cheek. With the heavy use of Peychaud’s bitters and its resemblance to a leaner version of a Vieux Carré ( this drink uses classic New Orleans components that resonate with the film’s Louisiana roots.

The choice of Sweet Vermouth is up to you, but I prefer Carpano Antica. If you don’t have that, Dolin would be the next best thing. Just make sure you’re using fresh vermouth. Don’t mess around with a 3+ month-old bottle.

For the Benedictine, make sure you’re using actual Benedictine and not B&B, which is just a pre-made cocktail that contains Benedictine. Unfortunately they are not the same thing with a different label.

In terms of cherries, if you feel up to it, I recommend making your own ( If you don’t have time or are otherwise not inclined to make Maraschino Cherries, be sure to get some good, quality Maraschino cherries like Luxardo.

The big element setting this drink apart is the Singani. Singani has a very distinct flavor. It’s extremely floral (lilac) and fruity (plums, papaya) and citrusy (bergamot) and funky (white pepper and potpourri) with a touch of honey. It plays well in this cocktail, but its unique profile still shines bright in the forefront of the drink. The flavor of the drink is on the sweeter side of the spectrum, like a boozier, semi-sweet, red wine. The flavors of honey and elderberry stand out but there’s also a hint of bitter dark chocolate. It’s a great tipple that mellows and blooms as you sip your way down to the bottom of the glass, much like a good Manhattan. Try one out. I think you’ll agree. Enjoy!

Recipe:
1.5 oz Singani
0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
0.75 oz Benedictine
4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
garnish Maraschino Cherry

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