Writing about alcohol, something I thought I would never do. (But,…I did.)
As you know, I grew up in Belgium. A.k.a: the Beer Country. The strange thing now is that, here in Italy, I already drunk some Belgian beers, which I hardly or never drink in Belgium itself. This goes from Duvel and Chimay, to Westmalle and Affligem. But, when in Italy, act like the Italians. So, on the advice of a colleague of mine, I tried out a Negroni.
After some research, I found out that the regular Negroni cocktail is made of one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, and one part bitters, like the traditional Campari, which originates in Milano, close to Bergamo. It is considered an apéritivo, a pre-dinner cocktail intended to stimulate the appetite. One of the earliest reports of the drink came from Orson Welles, while working in Rome in 1947, where he described the drink as: “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” I couldn’ agree more!
But… I didn’t drink the regular Negroni. Oh no. I drunk the Negroni Sbagliato.
The Negroni Sbagliato (“wrong” in Italian and pronounced [zbaliato]) uses sparkling wine, like prosecco, instead of gin. Punt e Mes Negroni replaces standard red vermouth with a specific, distinctively more bitter-tasted brand called Carpano. Coincidentally, my grandfather Richard Everaerts formerly raced for the Italian team Punt e Mes – Carpano. The death of the Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt in the beginning of this week, during the Giro D’Italia 2011, gave me goosebumps, but also made me indirectly think of my grandfather, aslo a cyclist who deceased too young.
Sometimes, life isn’t fair…
(O, to end with a positive note: I liked the Negroni Sbagliato.)