Contessa Cocktail (aka Aperol Negroni)Edit Post
Contributed by on Feb 12, 2015
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Well, this post was started right before the New-Year’s Day while I was looking through my site stats (You see, WordPress.com sends a pretty cute yearly review every December). And I was really surprised that my last posts (I mean, posts that were written during the last few years) weren’t as popular as the earlier ones (about all kinds of stuff like Creme Brulee Martini, Long Island Iced Tea or Passion Cosmo :) Seemingly, my new, refined cocktail taste, which has been forming for years, does not satisfy an average reader… But similar things I notice also with my guests, when trying to share with them my latest favorite concoctions. Actually it does not bother me that much ;) , but sometimes I am thinking of, you know, popularizing of the cocktail culture, so I should be ready to offer my guests something more acceptable as an entry point in a wonderful world of True Cocktails.
There is usually no problem to offer such a drink to a newbie if we speak about highballs, sours or tikis. But if we speak about aromatic cocktails, it seems to be an issue. Especially it is difficult in case of Negroni – undoubtedly, one of the best aromatic cocktails in the world.
Obviously the main challenge of aromatic cocktails is a combination of strength and bitterness. And we must admit it, not all people are ready to take it up 8) At any rate – from the first sip (but, probably, many of them would be ready for a second one, if only the first wasn’t SO bitter ;)
Thus, this challenging bitterness of Negroni, which is considered as its main merit by the connoisseurs, might be an insuperable difficulty for a newbie. Maybe it sounds grotesque to somebody, but it is a bitter truth in the case of Negroni 8) It contains a significant amount of Campari – a palatable bitter from Italy, which, by the way, wasn’t banned even during Prohibition as a result of its strong bitter taste. No joke!
That is why I guess it is so important to have some trick or some secret that will be able to make your favorite Negroni slightly more palatable (but not worsen it!) for your dear newbie but still so enjoyable for you 8) And, it seems, now I’ve found such a trick! 8)
As a matter of fact this is absolutely easy and obvious – just switch “the Great and Powerful» Campari to a thing, that sometimes is defined as baby-Campari, – the Aperol.
Campari and Aperol are pretty similar – both are classified as aperitif, both are based on some herbal stuffs – herbs, roots, citrus fruits etc. Finally they both have a vivid red color! And they both have an unique rich bitter-sweet taste which encapsulates great Italian lifestyle feeling. So, even though they have different bitterness and alcohol content, they have similar style.
I tasted this switch in the Contessa cocktail, the recipe for which I had found on Serious Eats a long time ago. But it may be not an original idea – there are many bartenders who come up with this trick. So, this name is somewhat nominal.
Aperol Negroni aka Contessa Cocktail
30 ml gin
30 ml sweet vermouth
30 ml Aperol
Stir with ice and strain over a large ice cube into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
I think, the best definition for Contessa Cocktail is a bland Negroni. As for me, it is still a good Negroni because it still is a rich, bitter-sweet, full of herbs, botanicals, species, velvety smooth aromatic drink. The only difference is an absence of a challenge 8) But if it is necessary, you can explore No Baloney Negroni – another Aperol Negroni version from Camper English ;)
As I could ascertain Contessa cocktail was an universal favourite with many people, who usually didn’t enjoy aromatic cocktails, especially women. So, this cocktail gave me an opportunity to share my love for Negroni with some people I love 8) Perfect! Strictly recommended even for connoisseurs.