Don't get down about it, but think about this for a moment (and think about the fact that pensiero means "thought" in Italian, too): In the world of sparkling wines, there are probably varieties, worthy varieties, you haven't yet tried. I know it's true for me. For example, until recently I'd missed out on Brachetto d'Acqui—and I'm something of an Italian nut (in the good way). Picking up its name from the Brachetto grape combined with the Acqui district in Italy's Piedmont region, this lightly fizzy number has a taste redolent of berries, cherries, spices, and flowers and is a bit sweet, making it an after-dinner partner of choice for many. It also works well with other ingredients, as in the Pensiero, which will help remind you that it's always good to be on the lookout for new liquid ideas.
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the orange juice, Punt e Mes, Campari, and simple syrup. Shake thoughtfully.
2. Strain the mixture into two flute glasses. Top each with Brachetto d'Acqui. Garnish each with a lemon twist and serve.
A Note: Punt e Mes is an Italian vermouth, one that's a touch more bitter than others on the market (but not so bitter as to make you cringe). The name means "point and a half"; the story is that it comes from a corresponding rise in the stock market that gave a lucky investor enough proceeds to start the company.
This page created December 2010
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