Every Tuesday, Italian expat Emiko Davies is taking us on a grand tour of Italy, showing us how to make classic, fiercely regional dishes at home.
Today: Meet this classic Campari-orange cocktail -- the aperitivo that unites Italy.
Summer calls for an evening aperitivo: a cool, refreshing alcoholic drink to enjoy before dinner. It's best had sitting outdoors in a warm piazza -- where seeing and being seen is the thing to do.
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The word “aperitivo” comes from the Latin word meaning “to open.” In Italian, when something is appetizing -- garlic sizzling in butter or your favorite cake baking in the oven -- you say that it “opens your stomach.” That's the idea behind the Italian aperitivo; it's a little something to stimulate the appetite before dinner. And drinks with bitters are especially good at getting the mouth watering.
Take this classic drink, the Garibaldi. Its name comes from the fact that Campari comes from the north (near Milan) and oranges, from the south (Sicily). What does that have to do with the name? Garibaldi was one of the central figures in the Italian Risorgimento (resurgence), which led to the unification of the country in 1871. Thus, the drink represents the coming together of the north and south of the Italian peninsula.
Some recipes for the Garibaldi call for a 1:1 ratio of Campari to orange juice, but that's a bit intense. A little less Campari and a little more orange juice makes a decidedly classier and sweeter drink that's much more appropriate as an aperitivo. Plenty of ice is key, and if you want to garnish, go for a slice of orange -- ideally blood orange, if it's in season, which creates a nice orange-red ombré.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.