Tableside with a Somm: Select Oyster Bar
Q&A: Charlie Gaeta of Branch Line
In Italian, sbagliato means “wrong,” or “mistake”—so it makes an odd name for a delicious cocktail at Cambridge’s Italian restaurant Giulia.
It makes more sense with a little context: The Negroni Sbagliato is a classic drink that’s almost as old as the Negroni itself, created by a Milanese waiter who absentmindedly used prosecco in place of gin. Bartender Terry Johnson gave the drink another tweak—this time, on purpose—by swapping out Campari for the lighter, less alcoholic Aperol, losing the Negroni moniker along the way.
But that’s not the only reason Giulia’s version stands on its own. For vermouth, Johnson chose Contratto Vermouth Rosso, a more bitter option with an almost amaro-like quality. He also adds a hefty five dashes of cardamom bitters, which supplies the drink with an interesting herbal flavor and pairs it to one of the restaurant’s more popular small dishes: Chicken Liver Crostini with a cardamom-spiced green tomato marmellata.
“I’m always thinking about how we can make cocktails that interact with the food,” says Johnson.
If you’ve enjoyed a Negroni Sbagliato in the past, you’ll appreciate this variant—and discover something completely new. It’s decidedly darker and more bitter, yet light enough to stay in pre-dinner territory thanks to the Aperol and bubbles.
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce Contratto Vermouth Rosso
5 dashes cardamom bitters
Orange peel, for garnish
Add Aperol, vermouth, and bitters to a stirring glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled, then strain into a frozen rocks glass and top with prosecco. Garnish with orange peel and serve.