It’s a hot Friday afternoon– it’s time for a little aperitivo.
I’m pretty sure the Italians kind of invented Happy Hour as we know it….right? The concept of the Italian aperitivo, in which you gather with friends well before dinner to have a cocktail, enjoy some snacks, chat about the day, and “open up your appetite” speaks. my. language. In fact I suppose you could even say the entire concept of Driveway Drinks (in its long arduous 4 month official history) can directly be traced back to 1860s Milan! Or something like that. Humor me.
This week has been hot. It’s August and we can tell. It’s 75 degrees at the 7:30am bus stop, and you can see the steam rising up off the streets as the sun climbs higher. This is the time of year you start having those feeling Autumnal Desire moments fly through your head and you find yourself wishing for boots and tall socks and fires and campfires. But friends, we aren’t there yet. The dog days of summer are setting in and in the spirit of being present– what better to counteract the heat and those fleeting wishes of crunchy leaves than the essential Italian summertime aperitivo beverage of choice– the Negroni.
If you have somehow made it in life as far as you have without enjoying this bitter and sweet and complicated (and cult*) beverage, it’s time you sat down the Pinot Grigio on a hot summer day and tried one.
*There are people obsessed with the perfect Negroni. A quick google of “best Negroni recipe” yields a casual 5,840,000 results.
The basics are simple: Equal parts Campari, vermouth, and gin, with an orange to garnish served in a highball glass over ice. I swapped sweet vermouth for dry, as I am a fan of the bitterness of both– and it’s admittedly a little puckery at first drink– but as the sun hits the sweating cocktail glass outside on that patio and the ice slowly melts and softens the drink, you find yourself softening too– sitting back a bit more, enjoying that sun just a little bit more, and thinking ya know? Maybe August isn’t so bad after all.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 part gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 part Campari
Fill a highball glass with quality clear ice. Pour equal parts gin, vermouth, and campari into the glass and stir gently. Garnish with orange slice. Enjoy with friends on a hot summer afternoon. Saluti!