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One of my many new year’s resolutions includes learning to embrace the cocktail. The inspiration: 1) A late night at NYC bar PDT, where mixologist extraordinaire Jim Meehan carefully crafted me a Green Deacon only to have me take a few sips, hang my head and sheepishly ask for a beer; and 2) My miserable score on F&W's spirits quiz. Despite Food & Wine’s trendspotting cocktail coverage and NYC’s radical mixology scene I’ve been slow to find a true appreciation for perfectly made drinks, simply because I never order them.
But I took advantage of the busy end-of-year social scene, and made a concerted effort to expand my mixology knowledge. I’m already off to a pretty good start after trying a fabulous new cocktail at NYC's L’Artusi, my favorite West Village restaurant. I love listening to wine director/owner Joe Campanale tell compelling stories about the esoteric Italian wines he’s always pouring, but on recent visits I've found myself ordering the Jester, a delicious, slightly tart cocktail crafted by Campanale and assistant beverage director Aaron Sherman. The two young talents were experimenting with some of their favorite Italian spirits and came up with this riff on the Negroni Sbagliato. Sbagliato means "wrong" or "incorrect" because you use a sparkling white wine (Campanale is slightly obsessed with white lambrusco, which he uses here) instead of the usual gin. The L'Artsui tweak swaps out the standard campari with amari, a bitter Italian after-dinner drink. The result is my first love affair with a cocktail.
by Aaron Sherman and Joe Campanale
1oz. Ramazzotti Amaro
1oz. Carpano Antico vermouth
.5oz lemon juice
Lini Lambrusco Bianco or dry sparkling white wine
Add Ramazzotti, Carpano Antica Formula and lemon juice to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir. Strain into chilled Champagne flute, top with Lambrusco Bianco and garnish with lemon peel.