The Bittersweet Season
by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
The end of summer, even a cooler-than-expected one like the one we've had this year in my neighbourhood, is always a bittersweet time for Canadians. Nights have become chillier, and we're spending less time on the dock or deck than we did a few short weeks ago. Some kids are getting sullen, others excited about being back in school, and we're sad to see the last of our summer entertaining. But never mind, I'll just pull up a deck chair, put on a sweat shirt and finish the last in the Inspector Montalbano Sicilian mystery series by Andrea Camilleri while sipping an easy-to-prepare favourite Italian cocktail of mine. Might even be convinced to glance up while I refill my glass and enjoy the arrival of autumn's colours
Nothing says Italy to me more than Campari. The first thing I do when arriving there is order a Negroni. That tells my taste buds that I have arrived in one of my most favourite countries. Campari has been around since the mid-1800s and is definitely an acquired taste. This secret "bitter" formula is made from natural herbs and spices infused in fortified wine at 45 per cent alcohol. Some say the flavour has a bitter taste with overtones of orange, herbs and honey. If you are experimenting for the first time, try it in orange juice or soda water.
For me a nice change from the usual bland orange juice and Campari combination is the following cocktail.
- 2 oz. Campari
- Splash red blood orange juice
- 3 oz. Vino dei Poeti Sparkling Prosecco (well chilled)
- Garnish: thin slice of orange
- Pour the Campari and blood orange juice into a flute.
- Top off with the Prosecco.
- Garnish with an orange slice.
When you have friends drop by, try this twist on a classic, "Campari Sangria" developed by mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, and it will ease you and your guests right into the fantasy of sitting on a beach in Italy. Serve with some tapenade or black olives to enhance the experience.
- 2 bottles of red wine, 750 mL each
- 12 oz. Campari
- 12 oz. Cointreau
- 8 oz. simple syrup
- 12 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 6 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 2 broken cinnamon sticks
- 3–4 lemons cut into thin quarters
- 12 strawberries, sliced
- 3–4 small oranges cut into thin quarters
- 7UP as needed
- Place above ingredients (excluding 7UP and fresh fruit) into a large glass container, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, pour into an ice-filled pitcher to 2/3 full.
- Add fresh sliced fruits and top with 7UP; stir gently to mix.
- Serve in wine glasses with the fresh fruit.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at email@example.com.