This year, serve a classic cocktail that'll whet your guests' appetites before the next big feast. For a drink that'll truly kick-start the appetite, we recommend the bitter Italian drink known as the Negroni — and a two-ingredient appetizer to go along with it. Though this cocktail (which was purportedly invented by a Florentine count!) isn't for the faint of heart, we'd argue that once you fall for it, there's no going back. Watch our latest episode of Happiest Hour for an easy drink (and bite) to add a punch to this holiday's entertaining.
Until recently, I assumed that Campari and its slightly milder cousin Aperol were love-it-or-hate-it aperitifs. But after cautiously trying a sip (and then another) of an expertly mixed Negroni while out to dinner one night, I discovered that, like many of the finer things in life, these bittersweet spirits are an acquired taste.
Since then, I've been sipping, swirling, and nibbling on everything and anything Italian, bittersweet, and glowingly bright red-orange. But tempted as I may be by riffs on the classic, I keep coming back to my first love: the negroni. Complex and with a heady perfume, this classic cocktail somehow seems appropriate year-round. Its bitterness helps to refresh the palate between bites of fatty braised meats come Fall and Winter, and when temperatures rise, it acts as internal air conditioning. A word of caution: this beverage is 100 percent alcohol, so pace yourself, lest you feel 100 percent awful come the next morning.
It's cocktail week here in San Francisco and a whole bunch of the city by the bay's best bartenders are participating in celebrating the dynamic beverage community. This is the first year this event has been hosted and many popular bars, lounges, and restaurants are contributing by featuring two limited edition specialty cocktails: one classic recipe and one innovative concoction. As I browsed through the list of cocktails, I noticed two places were offering a negroni as their classic cocktail. Invented in Florence, Italy in the 1900s, a negroni is often consumed as an aperitif to stimulate the appetite. For the recipe (if you are an aspiring mixologist you better learn how to make this!) read more