Negroni Sbagliato Spritz
I was planning on spacing out the cocktail recipes here with some other recipes, but I had a few baking stumbles and went through so much nut flour, butter, and eggs that I needed to take a baking break. And what better way to relax than over a refreshing spritz?
I was introduced to the Spritz when I went to coffee school in Trieste, Italy. I drank at least six cups of espresso every day – how could I not? – surprising even the Italian teachers. And by the end of the day, I needed to wind down.
So early evenings, I’d go to a local caffè where I noticed everyone drinking reddish drinks in large, wide goblets filled with handfuls of ice. Since icy beverages are often avoid in some countries in Europe, it was surprising to see people drinking cold drinks. And I wanted one.
And that was when I found myself enjoying my very first Italian spritz. But it wasn’t my last. I was also stunned by all the food they offer in Italian bars during the aperitivo hour that’s included, and for the taking, to enjoy with your drinks. As an Italian friend of mine said when I asked her about it – “Of course they do, because it’s nice to have something to eat when you are having a drink – no?”
I love Negronis but to be honest, they’re so strong that it’s hard to drink more than one. And since I tend to chug whatever drink is in my hand, whether its a glass of water or a tumbler of straight vodka, (I go through drinks quickly – consider yourself warned, in case you ever meet me in a bar and think about picking up my check…), it’s nice to have a cocktail that is light in alcohol, yet full of flavor.
So I was delighted when I tried the Negroni Sbagliato from a lovely book, Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. I was talking to Talia a while back about how much I liked spritzs and they seemed like they were ready for a revival.
She and her co-author Leslie beat me to the punch, or the spritz, because this handy guide had a number of recipes I’ve got bookmarked for this summer. I’ve tried several of them and they’ve all been winners. But it was the Negroni Sbagliato stood out.
This flavor-forward drink has the predominant components of a Negroni, except the gin, using prosecco to add a bit of fizz and lighten things up. Prosecco is an affordable sparkling wine from Italy and you don’t need to use the fanciest one. Campari has a pleasant, spicy bitterness that has a tendency to overwhelm other components in a cocktail. So any subtleties in a more glorified sparkling wine will get lost amidst the bravado of the other elements.
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