Elizabeth Helman Minchilli
We're cocktail people. Which isn't always an easy thing to be in a wine-loving, Mediterranean country like Italy. Most of the places where we meet friends for drinks offer Prosecco, wine, and ... wine. While the craft beer movement is going strong here, cocktails still lag far behind. If you ask the waiter, there is always the same lineup of Italian classics: Negroni, Americano, Campari and soda. But ask for anything as exotic as a gin and tonic or—God forbid—a Martini, and you are heading into unknown territory.
Which means we entertain a lot at home. In fact, neighbors have been known to ring our doorbell at around seven, with an innocent "Just wanted to say hi."
Well, I'm always happy to whip up a cocktail, and never more so than at holiday time. And even though I do live in non-cocktail country, I like to use local ingredients, and there are plenty. So, my gift to you: some Italy-inspired cocktails for your holiday entertaining and enjoyment.
Sometimes I want a Manhattan, but lately I've been craving something a tiny bit sweeter. Here is my version of an Old-Fashioned, making use of Martini & Rossi's new Rosato vermouth (which is a gorgeous shade of pink) and clementines, which always add sunshine.