In today's inventive cocktail culture, it seems what once was old is new again. The "retro" trend spares no genre; and just like food, fashion and TV, classic cocktails are making a splash with American consumers. Once a bartender's secret, drinks like the Negroni, Americano and Aperol Spritz have grown into a consumer favorite. Stiff and bitter; these drinks are a far cry from the fruity Appletini of the late 90s.
The foodie phenomenon has certainly matured American palates, but vintage will never go out of style. What's more chic than sipping an understated, antique cocktail on a sun drenched rooftop?
Despite their appeal, iconic Italian cocktails weren't always an American favorite. Typically made from bitter spirits like Campari or Aperol, these drinks aren't as easily sippable as what most consumers are used to. They are, however, fresh, zesty and sophisticated. A "complex, yet simple cocktail" says Joshua Campbell, bartender at Pouring Ribbons and Leyenda in NYC, the Negroni is the perfect food pairing drink because the "bitter sweet booziness of it brings the palate to life, and coaxes the drinker to want to drink and inevitably eat more." Perfect for day drinking or after dinner cocktails, these drinks are easy to make, easy to sip and easy to love. Campbell says "plenty of the great new drinks that bartenders are creating these days are directly inspired by the classics, and customers are loving them."
This week marks the 5th annual Negroni Week, a celebration of one of the world's greatest cocktails in an effort to raise money for charity, from June 5th to June 11th. To date the campaign has raised over $900,000 for charity. Help to raise even more money this year by doing your part - get out there and have a drink!
Made of bitter sweet Campari, a strong reddish liqueur thats been a mainstay in the Italian cocktail scene since the 1860s, the Negroni is a quintessential aperitif - best enjoyed after a long day in the Italian sun.
1 Oz Dry Gin
1 Oz Campari
1 Oz Red Vermouth
1 Orange Peel
Step 1: Add all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
Step 2: Shake and pour into a chilled tumbler. Garnish with orange peel and enjoy!
Want to feel like an American expat in Italy this summer? Drink the aptly named Americano. Said to be named after the Americans who adopted it as their go-to aperitif in the early 1900s, this is another Campari based cocktail that pleased even the most famous of drinkers.
1 oz Campari
1 oz Red Vermouth
Splash of soda water
Step 1: Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in a chilled tumbler.
Perhaps the most widespread aperitif in Italy, the Aperol Spritz is pleasantly fruity, perfectly bitter and dangerously refreshing. It finds its home in a large, balloon shaped red wine glass, where plenty of ice, Prosecco, Aperol and soda swim together to compose the most delightful of cocktails. Drink it by the pool or at the beach with friends for dreamy summer buzz.
3 Oz Prosecco DOC (try Mionetto Brut)
2 Oz Aperol
1 Splash soda
1 Orange Peel
Plenty of Ice
Step 1: Fill a large red wine glass with ice.
Step 2: Add the Prosecco, Aperol, a splash of soda and the orange peel and enjoy!
A lover of food, wine and travel, Laura is a freelance writer from NYC eating and drinking her way through the world. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, Laura is a trained chef with a degree in culinary arts and a WSET II award in wine & spirits.