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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Negroni Sbagliato: nothing more than a messed up Negroni?

When the Negroni is one of your favorite cocktails (you can usually tell that it is when you pre-mix six of them in an old Campari® bottle to save time when you get the urge for an aperitivo), your senses become supernaturally attuned to any mention (even in print) of the word “Negroni”.  This happened just the other day when there was a long, but fascinating, article on the Negroni Sbagliato.  Sbagliato is Italian for a mistake or a screw-up, so what turns the Negroni Sbagliato into a screwed-up Negroni?  The substitution of dry, sparkling wine for the Gin.  Now don’t confuse the Negroni Sbagliato with the Sparkling Negroni that contains both Gin and sparkling wine, this is a substitution.

Recipes for the Negroni Sbagliato abound on the web. All start with the basic ingredients of an Americano: Campari and sweet Vermouth, anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ ounces of each (always in equal proportions).  Many specify prosecco, but feel free to use any decent (but not too expensive) dry, sparkling wine like a Domaine Chandon® or Barefoot Bubbly®.  Campari lovers will go for the larger portions, but that demands a slightly larger glass.  Pre-chilling the Campari and sweet Vermouth by stirring with ice before straining into the Old Fashioned glass is highly recommended, and will produce better results than building this cocktail directly in the glass.  If you like your cocktails dry and a little bitter, you will love the Negroni Sbagliato.

Negroni Sbagliato

1 oz Campari®
1 oz sweet Vermouth (try Vya®)
2-3 oz dry, sparkling white wine

Combine the Campari and sweet Vermouth in a mixing glass with ice and stir briskly.  Strain into a pre-chilled Old Fashioned glass 2/3 full of ice.  Fill with dry, sparkling white wine.  Garnish with orange peel (or better yet, a flamed orange peel), kick back, and imagine yourself in a café on the via Veneto on a balmy, late night in Roma.

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