The cocktail called the Negroni is very trendy right now. I had my first one last October at Cicchetteria, and have even had another since then. (My cocktail consumption is very small.)
One part gin
One part vermouth
One part Campari
Serve on the rocks. You can add a twist of orange. I love the interplay between the juniper of the gin, the sweetness of the vermouth, and the bitterness of the Campari.
A word about Campari. A long time ago I spent four weeks in Rome with a bunch of other grad students, supposedly studying aesthetics but actually hanging around in cafes, tasting gelato, going broke, and gossiping about each other. Temple Rome Program, I love you! So one day my friend Jesse and I ordered Campari and soda because it sounded daring. I'd seen ads for it in The New Yorker.
It was dreadful to my 30-year-old palate (I'm a late bloomer). "This is like paint-thinner!" But slightly more than 20 years later, I think Campari sassy and strong in a good way, and I like the way its childish Hi-C Fruit Punch red color belies the bitterness.
You see, I've befriended bitterness in my middle age. Not emotional bitterness, which I used to find thrilling to discover in other people and energizing to cultivate in myself. Now that, like anyone my age, I actually have a few things to be bitter about, I try as hard as possible not to fall into that particular self-indulgent abyss. I try to cultivate gratitude instead, and take my bitterness in my Campari. And in my coffee. But that's for another post . . . .
Meanwhile, celebrate the bitter and have a Negroni this weekend. Or, if you're very grown up indeed, Campari and soda.