Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trendy: Campari

Pretty bottle.
 About a week ago, Alicia wrote a note on my FB wall, "Negroni...your summer cocktail!" Negroni, I thought, that sounds about right. Summery and pretty and very, very trendy.

It just so happened that I'd been reading up about Campari, the bitter liqueur that makes up one-third of the negroni mix. The May issue of Bon Appetit includes a small feature about cocktails made with Campari and Aperol (last summer's fling) - including simple and alluring negroni recipe. Garden & Gun also weighs in this month, with a Kentucky-style negroni that replaces the traditional gin with bourbon.

As if those mentions weren't enough to convince me that Campari is trendy, over the weekend I flipped through an issue of Vogue Living Australia from last fall and realized that 2010 was the150th anniversary of Campari. No wonder it's all over the place - they're still celebrating.

So in keeping with this celebratory mood, I decided to try out that negroni. If I could lock in my summer cocktail now, I thought, I'd be way ahead of the game. So off to the liquor store I went.

I followed the strictly traditional recipe for the drink: 2 oz. Campari, 2 oz. gin (I used Tanqueray) and 2 oz. sweet vermouth. I stirred them together, then poured the mixture over ice in a rocks glass.

The result is pretty. The Campari's golden red color gives the drink a warm glow that's really appealing. I looked at the drink and thought, yes, this is it. I will be drinking these all summer long:

Then I took a sip. And then I walked right over to the kitchen sink and spit it out. Sadly, the negroni is not for me. I know some people love them, but apparently I am just not that sophisticated. That, or I'm more sensitive to bitter flavors (I strongly dislike broccoli rabe for the same reason). Whatever it is, my negroni tasted like extra bitter-flavored Robotussin. Fine if you're trying to sleep off a cold, not so fine in a summer drink.

So that is my sad tale of the summer cocktail that wasn't. But it doesn't change the fact that Campari is enjoying some time in the spotlight. And since I've got a nearly full bottle of it in the bar now, I'll have to look into some alternate uses. Campari Champagne Cocktail anyone?


Nakiya @ Taste of Baltimore said...

My summer drink is going to be a Pimms Cup! In fact, it is actually my Spring and Summer drink since I've already begun consuming them :)

Kit Pollard said...

Hmm...maybe I should pick up a bottle of Pimm's because that does sound good! So Wimbeldony!

Nakiya @ Taste of Baltimore said...

Yes! Try it! Yummmmmm

Sarah G said...

As much as I wish I could (it has such Euro appeal), I can't stomach Campari. :(

Kit Pollard said...

That makes me feel better, Sarah, because I know that you're a sophisticate. Or however you say "sophisticate" in French.

Cail said...

Campari and Aperol have somewhat similar flavors...Could you sub in Aperol to make the drink a little milder?

Kit Pollard said...

Probably, but I think it would still be too bitter for me - just because the bitter component is 1/3 of the whole. I almost stopped and got a bottle of Pimm's today to take Nakiya's advice. Might do that tomorrow so I can toast Kate & Wills Brit-style...


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