December 14, 2010

What I’m Drinking: Highwayman’s Holiday

This vacationing vandal special is, in a big way, a liquid shout out to pals Markie B and Andy S. See, these two fine gentleman (and their wives) came with us the last time we were in Italy (way back in April 2009), and during that trip we discovered the somewhat illusive Viparo. You can read my plea for this Italian amaro here, and learn more about our adventures on that trip. On this trip, I was excited to try and track down this evasive elixir, and then when walking into some big new market/grocery/superstore a couple weeks back there it was, staring down at me–a whole display of new bottles of Viparo. Naturally, I picked one up and now it, along with Italian stalwart Aperol, features big in the below drink. The others players are gin (which starts the story behind the name, as I was picturing the drinker as a British stagecoach robber on vacation) and clementine juice (I found a bunch of clementine’s recently)—everything together equals a fine escape:


Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounce gin

1 ounce freshly squeezed clementine juice

1/2 ounce Viparo

1/2 ounce Aperol


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, juice, Viparo, and Aperol. Shake well.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass or little wine glass or flagon. Drink up.


A Note: Can’t find clementine’s? You could sub in orange juice instead. Call it Highwayman’s Parole.


A Second Note: You might want to strain this through a fine strainer to avoid citrus bits in teeth. But no real robber would care about that much.

May 1, 2009

What I Wish I Was Drinking: Viparo

So, no big lengthy Italy post this afternoon (I have to get outside and enjoy the sun. Or do about 100 other things. Take your pick), but I do have one Italian gem to leave you with for your weekend (and a mission): Viparo. Viparo! Viparo? What is it? It’s an Italian amaro (the bitterish, to degrees, drinks you tend to have after dinner), one I’d never seen before this last trip. I found it in the little café, Lo Spaccio, which sits in the middle of San Leo Bastia, which is the little town we always stay near when in the Upper Tiber Valley countryside (which is one of the finest places on earth, in my opinion). Lo Spaccio not only has the usual Italian café amenities, coffees, drinks, pastries, Fonzies, friendly people, but also a tiny one aisle store in back. In that tiny store they have a better booze and wine selection than some liquor stores, and on the top shelf of that, my favorite section, I found a dusty bottle of Viparo when we were there this last time. On the sweeter side of the amaro family (but not too sweet), it had bitter tingles but also caramel overtones and herbal undertones, all mixed up in a deliciously dark package. Pretty much everyone with ended up loving it, and we put the bottle away without a problem–and then couldn’t find another bottle in Lo Spaccio, or even when Andyo and I went to all the booze counters in Florence. There’s a picture of it below (a bit blurry, but it was late, and dark, and I was weepy cause I’d just finished the last drop), and you now know the name (Viparo!), and the tagline is “Delizioso Aperitivo Tonico Digestivo” (which is really fitting, cause it can be consumed anytime and will cure what ails you), and so my mission to you is, if you ever see a bottle, buy it for me and I’ll pay for it, the shipping (if needed), and your next two three drinks! What a deal. Now go have a happy weekend. And find me some Viparo!

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