A Beginner's Guide to Italian Aperitivi Cocktails and Where to Try Them
If you’re a Campari lover, then the Canelli, Piedmont-based Contratto Bitter should be the next bottle in your cart. Founded in 1867 by Giuseppe Contratto, it is best known as the oldest continuously operating producer of sparkling wine in Italy—but their aromatized wines and aperitivo bitters are also vastly popular among bartenders and aperitivo enthusiasts. In the last decade, Contratto has dedicated resources to recreating archival aperitivo recipes, resulting in their 2015 releases: Contratto Bitter and Contratto Aperitif.
The Contratto Bitter formula is inspired by a 1933 recipe, which uses a base of Italian brandy that’s infused with a variety of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and seeds; bitter orange peel, cloves, gentian, ginger, hibiscus, rhubarb, juniper, and berries. At 22 percent ABV it’s got enough of an alcoholic backbone to be used in any classic cocktail where you’d find Campari, including the Negroni and Boulevardier.
Because Contratto also claims a vineyard and winery, travelers have the opportunity to try the brand at the source by booking a day tour. But for those looking to find Contratto Bitter in the wild, the Atrium Bar at Four Seasons Florence, one of the “meccas for the Italian aperitivo,” according to The Champagne Bar’s Longo, is one destination to put on your list. Another is Caffe Mulassano in Turin where The Connaught’s Bargiani claims the modern Italian aperitivo was born. “It truly is a precious location,” says Bargiani, as it’s also “where they invented the tramezzino [sandwich] to serve with their homemade vermouth liqueur.”
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Published at Tue, 25 May 2021 21:00:00 +0000