I like a cocktail. In Europe, unless you visit an American Bar, you cannot get a dry Martini or a Manhattan. But there is an great option in Italy — the Negroni. It’s available in most cafes and wine bars.
A Negroni is basically equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari garnished with citrus – usually the peel of an Orange. Of course, great ingredients make a great cocktail.
Campari is a bitter Italian aperitif. There are alternatives such as Cynar (a bitter, artichoke liqueur), but Campari is traditional and makes a great Negroni.
The choice of vermouth is a serious matter. All cocktails calling for sweet vermouth are improved by using Carpano Antica. This is the original vermouth developed Antonio Carpano in 1786. Essentially, Antonio invented the aperitif and effectively the cocktail. In a pinch, another sweet vermouth can be substituted, but Antica improves any cocktail calling for sweet vermouth.
- 1 ounce dry gin
- 1 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari or other Italian bitter aperitif such as Cynar
- 1 cup Ice
- Citrus garnish (I used a California pink lemon here, but an Orange peel is the traditional garnish)
- In a shaker, or large glass combine gin, vermouth, Campari and ice. Stir vigorously.
- Stain into a cocktail glass and garnish with citrus.