The Negroni :: Italy on the Rocks
It's official, today marks the start of summer. And with it, ushers in a whole fresh crop of cool cocktails for hot weather...oh yes, I'm excited! Summer 2011 is officially the summer of the Negroni, as noted by last month's Manhattan Cocktail Classic and my good friend and Italian-inspired mixologist and sommelier Joe Campanale (his restaurants, L'Artusi, dell'anima and Anfora are among my fave Italian spots in the city). An old-school Italian classic (and my dad's summer sipper of choice), the Negroni brings together the herbal notes of Campari and gin, with a refreshing touch of citrus. Makes you feel like you're in Roma leisurely relaxing in the Piazza de Spagna right off the Spanish Steps.
My personal go-to summer cocktail is the Aperol spritz, which conjures up visions of Capri and the cerulean blue waters of the Amalfi coast. I haven't been back in 11 years, but a girl can dream can't she? Orangey-herbal aperitif + prosecco...bellissima!
Here's to a fantastic summer of cocktail sipping, wherever you draw your inspiration from, salute!
The Negroni :: and the Aperol Spritz
Serves :: 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
1 1/2 ounces Campari
1 1/2 ounces gin
twist of orange
3 ounces Prosecoo
1 ounce Aperol
splash of soda water or Pellegrino
Shake vermouth, Campari and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain over a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
Pour Prosecco, Aperol and soda water over ice, garnish with an orange slice.
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The Little Things…
Sometimes it's the little things that make you appreciate life a bit more. When favorite foods come to mind, I've got a decently long list running, much of which is inherently healthy, but of course there are a few indulgences sprinkled in there as well. Among others on the list...a small plate of thinly sliced, artisanally-cured Italian meat with a touch of heat when it hits your tongue. Pair that with a glass or two of vino and I'm a very blissful gal. Even better when the meat, in this case soppressata, is home-cured. You know a lot of time and care went into it. Someone was kind enough to drop this tasty little gift off to me last week and it made a gray, snowy weekend much, much brighter.
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Crushing On :: Occhipinti Wines
I'm not sure if it was ironic or simply good timing, but I don't really care either way. I was plotting a post just last week about one of my absolute favorite winemakers (I'm slightly obsessed), and then who turns up on my doorstep Saturday morning smack in the middle of the New York Times Style Magazine. Say "bongiorno" to Arianna Occhipinti and Occhipinti wines. Many thanks to the fantastic Mr. Todd Selby who photoraphed Occhipinti in his NYT feature column, Edible Selby - appropriately titled "Natural Woman." I discovered Occhipinti's wines - the SP68 Vittoria Rosso to be exact - at L'Artusi (a great Italian spot in the WV) a few years back and I've been hooked ever since. At 29, Occhipinti is producing some of the most striking wines I've tasted - she's producing in southern Sicily where she's from...and she's doing it using natural biodynamic methods to farm the grapes (read: zero chemicals). She's a woman with a mission, and I'm fully on board.
Here's her recipe for grape marmalade as published in T Magazine (insert Italian accent).
1 kg grape moscato
.3 kg sugar
Remove the seeds from the grape and discard it. After, put the grape in a pot with the sugar and mix by a wood spoon until the fruit changes thanks to the caramelization of the sugar. When it is dense, put everything into a glass jar when it is hot. Close and seal. It is ready.