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Vintage Naples

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Italian Cocktail of the Week: Italia Settanta Cinque

When visiting Naples, a friend  introduced us to the classic French 75 cocktail.  This was originally created at the New York Bar in Paris, later Harry’s New York Bar, in 1915.  The potent combination of gin, lemon juice, Champagne, and sugar was said to have a kick like a French 75mm field gun and the name stuck.

There are many recipes around which try and give this classic cocktail an Italian twist.  One adds limoncello instead of the lemon juice; another muddles the gin with basil, before using grapefruit juice and bitters.  One recipe substitutes grappa for gin.

But I think this recipe via Feast best preserves the gin/fruit/fizz intent of the original.  It uses the freshly squeezed, slightly bitter, juice from a blood orange, a fruit native to Italy and the primary orange grown in the country.  And of course Prosecco instead of Champagne.

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Italian Cocktail of the Week: Sgroppino al Limone

What better on a Italian evening than to sit outside, sipping this classic boozy smoothie from the Veneto, the terra firma of Venice.

The Sgroppino is a lovely blend of lemon gelato, vodka and prosecco, the local sparkling wine.  With its origins in the 16th Century when it was eaten by aristocrats between fish and meat dishes, it can be drunk as a pre-dinner cocktail, as a palate cleanser or as a digestif.  The word Sgroppino means ‘to untie’ and the light, icy, lemony whipped snow cuts through the palate.  And it only takes a few minutes to make.

Recipe (via the Guardian) below

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Italian Cocktail of the Week: Orange Blossom Special

The weather here in Naples has at last taken a turn for the better.  The temperature is up, the shorts and summer dresses are out and the sprinklers are on in the evening.  Time for a cocktail which you can find all over Italy.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Summer than to mix and serve this classic Aperol Spritz.  It’s a feel-good, relaxed and refreshing drink, low in alcohol and high in style, which comes with a slight, but not overpowering, bitter taste.  Its orangey-rhubarby hue makes it unmistakeable in the bar or on the beach.  And it comes in a cool bottle too.

The recipe is simple:

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Italian Cocktail of the Week: NEG-RON-I

I blogged last week about the Italian love of a good aperitif.  Subsequently we had friends over from the UK to visit, both of whom are partial to a good cocktail.  Amongst the many drunk, the classic Negroni stood out.  It’s quick and easy to make, packs a real punch and is quintessentially Italian.  It’s so famous that there is a Negroni festival in Portland, Oregon.

The Negroni as served is a deep ruby-orange.  It’s potent, fragrant, herby, sweet and bitter.  On paper it sounds disgusting but, mixed properly and with a slice of orange added, it works perfectly.  Apparently, it is named in honour of a Count Negroni who, in Florence in 1919, was fed up with his insipid Americano, and asked for gin to be added instead of soda.  A stroke of genius.  The Negroni is the perfect pre-dinner drink but be sure to have just the one on an empty stomach.

The classic recipe is simplicity itself:

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The Art of the Italian Cocktail

Drink on the Beach

There’s something very Italian about drinking a pre-dinner cocktail or aperitif whilst watching la passagiata.

Imagine a lovely evening relaxing in the evening sun on the terrace of a local corner bar.  The metallic chairs scrape as you pull them towards your table.  The menu is proffered, you order and, after a short pause, the efficient waiter brings you your drink of choice with a flourish accompanied by a small selection of nibbles (sfizi).  You sit back and relax, slowly sipping your drink and watch the world go by.

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