July 14, 2017
There are times, when the Mercury’s rising and that big ol’ ball of heat in the sky is high overhead, when you want a classy drink, but one that isn’t too tough. A drink that has all kinds of flavor, but without involving any sweat (or little sweat) to make. A drink you could sip after a long day of work while the sun starts its long slow trip down westward, as well as during a family brunch on Sunday when you’re waking up slowly.
Well, this is that drink friend! It covers all those bases, though admittedly it might be best during the Italian aperitif hours, those beautiful moments before dinner (let’s say 5 to 7, though they can arrive a stitch earlier or later) when you want to have something a little effervescent and light, but still with character and taste. All those characteristics come together here with just two ingredients – and a lemon twist – starting with Mionetto Prosecco, specifically the DOC Treviso brut version (though all the Mionetto Proseccos, made since 1887, are worth tracking down). The Treviso brut is nice and dry and crisp, with apple and peach and flowers lingering on the tongue, along with a hint of honey.
Here, it’s mixed with another Italian number, the newest sibling of renowned Galliano (the L’Autentico golden liqueur in the memorable bottle), Galliano L’Aperitivo, just recently becoming available stateside. An amaro, or bitter, it boasts over 50 ingredients, including a bouquet of citrus – orange, bergamot, tangerine, grapefruit, others – and a mix of herbs and spices like cardamom. The flavor’s rich, with all those orange-y citrus notes, herbaliciousness, and a hint of bitter.
Together, these two Italian stalwarts come together beautifully – with lots of fruit flavor, but with a dryness that is swell in summer, when you want to keep the cloying nature of some drinks far away. The color is also rather amazing, adding another welcome touch.
3/4 ounce Galliano L’Aperitivo
4 ounces chilled Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso brut
Lemon twist, for garnish
Ice cube, if wanted
1. Add the L’Aperitivo to a flute or comparable glass. Top with the prosecco.
2. Carefully stir in a manner that brings everything together without being wacky. If your prosecco isn’t really chilled, or if it’s extra hot out, add an ice cube.
3. Garnish with the twist. Give a toast to the sun, and to Italy.
July 22, 2011
If you’re a regular reader of the Spiked Punch blog (and if you aren’t, why, may I ask, aren’t you? Cause I like you lots. Lots. So much that I want you here, reading, all the time. As long as that doesn’t sound creepy), you know that I was lucky enough to visit the Branca distillery, cause I distilled the visit in Branca Tour 1 and Branca Tour 2. What I may not have hit on enough in either of those articles is how that visit spurred on my love of Branca Menta (my love of Fernet Branca and the vermouths mentioned in those posts was pretty high already). Especially in these summer months, I actually drink more of the more-recent Branca, the Menta. Why, you might ask? Well, I detail the why, as well as give a recipe for the Menta Highball, and talk more Branca and Milan (where it’s made) in this article for the Good Life Report, called Make It a Milan Menta Summer. So get your-own summer-drink luvin’ self over there and start reading.
July 19, 2011
Spent an afternoon on pal Jeremy Holt’s (he’s the co-author of Double Take, the finest book ever about serving vegetarians and meat-eaters together, as you may or may not know, and a virtuoso chef and cocktail- and booze-maker) back deck recently, reveling in one of the few sunshine-y summer days we’ve had so far here in Seattle. And naturally, as it was summer, he brought out some of his homemade limeoncello for us to sip. See, I think of limeoncello as the sun-god of liqueurs, and think some chilled limeoncello when there’s sun out is wonderful thing. Jeremy’s recent batch was perfect, lemon-y with a kick and a smidge of sweetness. I don’t think it was exactly as the recipe in Luscious Liqueurs, but if you want to make your own, the recipe in that book will get you there. The limeoncello we had went down easy and was a good combo with a few cold PBRs:
and was fantastic with a few fresh blueberries:
Here’s hoping we get at least a few more worthy summer days—and that Jeremy doesn’t run out of limeoncello.
June 29, 2011
I love this bubbly-and-bitter-belle-of-the-ball. First, it’s a variation on the Negroni (which is, of course, a fav) that subs in Prosecco for gin. Second, I originally had it and heard about it when staying in Florence at a spot called the Hotel Casci (not far from the Duomo, don’t you know), and pal Jeremy was there as well (we were drinking and playing Quiddler after a day of touristing). Third, it means “wrong” due to its Negroni-less-ness, if that makes sense, and I think having a drink called “wrong” is genius. Fourth, well, it tastes great–can’t go wrong with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco. Fifth, it (like La Rana D’Oro below) was a featured drink at a recent charity event that I slung drinks at (for my ma, if you didn’t know). Sixth, it’s also featured in my book Champagne Cocktails (which, if you don’t have, please buy, cause I need to be able to buy more sparkling wine). And seventh, well, seventh just adds up all the earlier six reasons to expand my love of this drink to epic–epic–proportions.
3 ounces sweet vermouth
3 ounces Campari
2 orange twists, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vermouth and Campari. Shake well.
2. Strain the mixture equally into two flute glasses. Top with Prosecco and garnish with the orange twists.
A Variation: You could use the Italian sparkling wine Moscato d’Asti or Asti Spumante here and be happy about it.
A Second Note: I could see the rationale behind serving this in a cocktail glass in the Negroni’s honor. I could also see the rationale behind calling this a sparkling Americano. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to do either of them.
June 27, 2011
I recently was slinging cocktails for an Italian-themed charity event (it was for my mom’s HeartWork, if you’re interested), and the drinks were so popular (I say, humbly) that I wanted to post a couple. And, I had a few myself, so I thought they’d fit right into the What’s I’m Drinking group. But here, in this picture, it wasn’t me drinking, but Kent, one of the fantastic piano players who were tickling the ivies for the event. And what he was drinking was the La Rana d’Oro. Sounds continentally intriguing, yes? Really, though, between us, it was just an older drink called the Golden Frog, which I’d Italian-ized (in name, anyway). The drink is packed with Italian punch no matter what language the name is in, however, boasting both Galliano and Strega, two golden and delicious Italian liqueurs. It has a bit of a kick, but hey, what would you expect from a frog? Kent sure seemed to like it:
1-1/2 ounces vodka
1-1/2 ounces Galliano
1/2 ounce Strega
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add the vodka, Galliano, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve stylishly.
April 18, 2011
Living in Italy (as I am of this writing, at least), I’ve picked up a small addiction–to mirtillo juice (mirtillo=blueberries), which I like to have in the morning with my croissant. It’s a health kick (or seems to be) and has a great taste and color. Recently, however, thanks to my pals/landlords Andrew and Marianne (proprietors of the wondrous Amici Villas), I’ve discovered the grown-up sibling of my beloved mirtillo juice, the fantastic mirtillo liqueur. See, Andrew and Marianne picked up a bottle for me not too long ago, and it’s delicious, not too sweet and bursting with flavor, and I’ve been digging it solo and mixed. It’s especially good in the below drink, named after Andrew and Marianne’s lovable pup, Oscar, who is frizzante, just like this slightly sparkling sparkler. To round out the somewhat Italian experience (or, Italian-British, much like the above-mentioned Andrew and Marianne, cause gin’s involved, too), and to bring the frizzante, I combined the mirtillo with Donini wineries (read more about Donini here) Brigante (a bianco frizzante):
1 ounce gin
3/4 ounce mirtillo liqueur
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces Brigante (or other frizzante white wine)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin, mirtillo, and lemon juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a Champagne flute, add the Brigante, and stir briefly. Sip and enjoy.
March 31, 2011
I have a whole host of Dr. Strange posts over on my Italy blog (if you don’t know who Dr. Strange is, then, well, I pity you pal. Go over to Neilalien and do some learning), and have already posted this pic up there, but I liked it so much I wanted to double it up and post it here, too. The long and short is that we were in Florence, having a Negroni at Giacosa (which is the spot where the Negroni was born), and Dr. Strange was thirsty and he wanted one, too. Which was wonderful by me:
December 17, 2010
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: most times (that makes it sound sort folksy), most times I say, the simple things are the finest. Example A: I picked up a bottle of Punt e Mes (you probably know this, but it’s a particular Italian vermouth, fragrant and citrus and herbal in action) at one of my local stores here in Italy recently, and instead of getting all jiggy with it, poured it simple over ice, and then topped it with ginger ale (the Conad, which is a line of stores here, house brand, which is quite dandy, dry and ginger-tastic). An orange slice might have made it better, but you know what? It was a fine aperitif even without said slice. And so simple. You should make one yourself. Right now:
1-1/2 ounces Punt e Mes
3 ounces ginger ale
1. Fill a highball glass three-quarter-ish up with ice cubes. Add the Punt e Mes. Top with the ginger ale. Stir. Be happy for simple things.