What We’re Drinking Tonight is a Negroni

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Negroni ingredients at The Green Parrot Package Store
National Negroni Week, the brainchild of Imbibe magazine, was devised as a way to encourage bars across the country to serve up more Negronis,  the classic Italian Campari-based cocktail that has made bitterness palatable for generations of drinkers.

Its easy-to-remember 1:1:1 ratio of equal parts gin, Campari and sweet Vermouth means it’s super easy to mix up at home. 
The quintessentially perfect cocktail–perfectly balanced, with the right amount of bitter, bite and sweetness…
 ….not to mention a beautiful ruby-tinged hue. 

Don’t be fooled by its festive color, or its herbal properties: The Negroni, with no mixers, is as boozy as a Manhattan and the drink’s  floridity masks a devious potency. 
That said, be doubly careful, since technically,it is an aperitif,  often enjoyed before the meal on an empty stomach. 
It’s a classic cocktail, made not to disguise the alcohol flavors, but with its’ inherent sophisticated simplicity, to celebrate them.

Jim Fossum made mine on the rocks and while the proportions mentioned above are the classic ones, variations and presentations  abound.
Pictured above is the Negroni Cocktail, served up, not on-the-rocks, and in a cocktail glass fresh from the freezer.

 Pictured below is its once-popular progenitor,  the Americanoa refreshing Italian-born highball made with Campari, sweet Vermouth and club soda.

 While the Americano doesn’t have quite the romance that’s grown around the Negroni, what it also doesn’t have is nearly as much alcohol. Without the gin and the added club soda It’s a lighter and saner choice for summertime drinking. 

Combine 1½ ounces Campari with 1½ ounces sweet vermouth in a highball glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a generous orange twist.

A pitcher of Americanos enjoyed on the porch of the Green Parrot’s Liquor Store during a hot afternoon is a picture I cannot get out of my head.

After a solid week of rain here in Key West, at times biblical in proportion, we were all made painfully aware as soon as we stepped outside Friday morning that  the the first steamy heat of the summer was soggily upon us, as our sound engineer Dan Simpson likes to say, we are again One Humid Family.

With a cure for that  summer heat in mind and that same pitcher-on-the-porch vision dancing in my head comes the Negroni Sbagliato. 

Translated from Italian, Negroni Sbagliato means a bungled Negroni. A Negroni in error. A mistake.
The “mistake” referred to is  replacing the gin in a usual Negroni with a dry sparkling wine, typically proseco, and that is a game-changer indeed..
Not only the the alcohol content of the usual Negroni is reduced. The effervescence is added.. . Drink the Sbagliato (pronounced sbahl-YAH-toe) in the dog-days of summer, when you need it most..
Again, like original Negroni, the Negroni Sbagliato is easy enough to make at home, and while it may be obscure enough that most bartenders don’t know it remains simple enough that any bartender can be talked through it. 

if you want a glimpse of the apertivo scene in Milan, look here.

If you just want to make a Negroni Sbagliato at home,  The ingredients are available right next door to the  bar in The Green Parrot Liquor Store.

Negroni Sbagliato
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lightly sparkling wine (Prosecco)
Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish with a slice of orange.
What’s on our night table.
The Negroni is what we’re reading this week,  as well as what we’re drinking. 
The handsome volume pictured above is The Negroni: a gaz regan Notion. , Gaz Regan’s deep-dive on the classic cocktail,  filled with essays about the Negroni, quotations, Negroni variations, and comments about the drink from the world’s top bartenders and personalities.