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Spirits: Is anything off limits as a cocktail mixer?


The Aperol Flip, cousin to the Aperol Spritz. (James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

I'm in Italy this week, traveling around the Veneto, drinking a lot of prosecco and eating well. I’ve also been sipping my fair share of Negronis (which I tried to "improve" upon last summer). And, of course, since Veneto is the home of the Aperol Spritz, that combination of Aperol, club soda and prosecco, I've had a few of those during aperitivo hour, too. I've extolled the virtues of Aperol before, in the Aperol Flip and in the Unusual Negroni. It's actually become so prevalent in contemporary bartending circles that it's been jokingly called the "MSG of cocktails" because it makes everything better-tasting (not to mention prettier).

So I was a little surprised today when I arrived for a tasting at Bellenda winery, which makes excellent prosecco, and saw a sign with a photo of the Aperol Spritz and a big X mark over it. Umberto Cosmo, who owns Bellenda, says he's decided to undertake a one-man campaign against the Aperol Spritz, since he believes the bright orange aperitif "ruins" prosecco, especially since Aperol's bright orange is created with artificial coloring. He believes good prosecco should be consumed as an aperitif by itself, and therefore he would like to ban the Aperol Spritz, probably Italy’s favorite cocktail.

Many spirits and wine producers say the same thing about their creations -- that they are too special to be used in cocktails. I've had vodka producers tell me I should only take their spirit straight. Tequila people have told me I should never mix with anejo tequila. And, of course, Scotch fans never want to mix single-malts with anything.

I wonder what readers think about this idea: Are there certain spirits and wines that should never be mixed? Or is anything fair game? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

-- Jason Wilson
(Follow me on Twitter.)

By The Food Section  |  April 16, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags: Jason Wilson, Spirits  
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Comments

The thing I always ask myself, when I taste a cocktail with an expensive or character filled ingredient is, "Would I rather have just drunk that on its own?"

Posted by: ellestad | April 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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