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Another Way to Make Cocktails Sparkle

In my column today on sparkling wine cocktails, I neglected to talk about another of my favorite cocktails using prosecco, the Negroni Sbagliato. Now, I've certainly waxed on about the Negroni before, including my attempts to improve the original (equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin). The Negroni Sbagliato is basically a Negroni that calls for prosecco or asti spumante instead of gin. Sbagliato means "wrong" or "mistaken" -- as in, "I messed up and mistakenly put sparkling wine in this Negroni instead of gin."

Recipe Included

I actually wrote about the Negroni Sbagliato in a feature I did for Imbibe Magazine back in fall 2007. Derek Brown also has a nice recent post over on The Atlantic Food Channel with a recipe for the Negroni Sbagliato. Derek calls for champagne, rather than prosecco, in his Negroni Sbagliato, but I forgive him.

I think a lot of people are possibly gun-shy about prosecco in the United States because so much bad prosecco is here. I think that's because most of the stuff we see in stores is cheap, and many of us have convinced ourselves that $10 is a fair price to pay for prosecco. I guess it also didn't help that Paris Hilton was not too long ago hawking prosecco in a can.

Bad prosecco can be cloying or have a really off-putting muskiness. Good prosecco is the opposite, with a crisp tartness, notes of apple or pear, and some minerality. When I was in Italy reporting my recent piece on grappa I attended a tasting celebrating the 40th anniversary of the prosecco DOC in Italy’s Veneto region. There were 80 producers from Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (the region most consider to be prime), which last month was designated as even more strict and prestigious DOCG status. In June, I wrote a piece on my experience at this tasting, and while I have mixed feelings about another DOCG inflicted upon the world -- and a tongue-twister at that (say Conegliano-Valdobbiadene fives times fast) -- I have to admit that I tasted wonderful proseccos like I never had before. And I'd take a chance on spending a little more, say $16-$20, for a good one that comes from this region.

One more note on prosecco, regarding glassware. The normal impulse is to pour prosecco into a flute, as with champagne. With prosecco, I've found that the flute is not the best way to go. At the DOCG tasting, we sipped from medium-sized wine glasses. And at home, I find that pouring prosecco into one of my regular wine glasses allows more of the characteristics of the wine to come forward.

-- Jason Wilson

Negroni Sbagliato
1 serving

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 ounces prosecco
Thin whole slice of orange, for garnish

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Add the vermouth and Campari, then top with the prosecco; stir to combine. Garnish with the slice of orange.

Per serving: 166 calories, 0 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 18 g sugar

By The Food Section  |  August 12, 2009; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Recipes , Spirits  | Tags: Jason Wilson, recipes, wine  
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@Jason - I've become a big fan of prosecco. Costco sells one (Il Prosecco) that's a fantastic value at $12/bottle. I would take issue with your opinion of a Kir, though. I was visiting a friend in Cali recently and we shared a couple of glasses made with Barefoot's bubbly. Still, it's probably better to combine the Creme de Cassis with a Muscadet.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 12, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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