1/31/2013 11:30:00 AM

A Bartender's Guide to Italian Spirits

Image by Gabi Porter
We are celebrating Italian food at Zagat this week, but to be thorough we didn’t want to neglect the way Italians drink. Italian liqueurs, vermouths and amari are by turns  bitter and herbaceous, and refreshing and sweet. Some are best enjoyed on their own, some are interesting and complex cocktail modifiers, and some appear in historic classic cocktails. Where would the martini be without vermouth? A negroni without Campari is not a negroni. And a hanky panky without Fernet Branca would be inconceivable. Before dinner, after dinner and during dinner, Italian cocktails can pair beautifully with food. We talked to some of our favorite bartenders in New York to give us the lowdown on how they use some of the more popular Italian libations. And with the ever rising popularity of Fernet Branca, we couldn’t just speak to one person.

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