A Negroni Sbagliato and Red Underwear

On December 20, I drank a Negroni Sbagliato to celebrate THE END of Campari Crimson, my fourth Franki Amato mystery about the New Orleans vampire culture. I always toast the completion of each book with the liqueur featured in the title.

I picked this drink not only because of the Campari, but also because it plays a role in the climax of Campari Crimson. Plus, I like the way the red looks in my special occasion Elvis Presley glass, which is crystal and gold—like his records.

The Negroni was named after Florentine playboy Count Camillo Negroni in 1920. His usual drink was an Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda). But one day he wanted something stronger, so his bartender substituted gin for soda and christened the cocktail after the count. The Negroni Sbagliato, the “Mistaken Negroni,” was born when a bartender accidentally used Prosecco instead of gin (recipe below).

The red color of the drink reminds me of the holidays and of an Italian New Year’s Eve custom—wearing red underwear to bed for good luck. The key is to throw the underwear away on New Year’s Day, or the custom won’t work. The ones in the picture say “Wear me on New Year’s Eve I’ll bring luck all year.” If that’s not convincing, I don’t know what is.

As an Italian-American, I’m never sure if Italy’s traditions apply to me, but I observe them just in case. I’ve been on a writing roll this year (a Danger Cove Hair Salon Mystery, a Franki Amato mystery, and two Franki Amato short stories), and I don’t want my luck to run out because in 2018 I’ve got a whole new series to write!

So, I’m going to wear my red underwear to bed on New Year’s Eve (not the ones in the picture), and that night I’ll toast with another Negroni Sbagliato because it’s red and has Prosecco in it.

To make your own New Year’s Eve Negroni Sbagliato, follow this recipe:

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 or 2 ounces Prosecco
orange wedge

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. Add Campari and vermouth and stir. Top with Prosecco and stir again. You can also serve this drink without ice in a champagne flute. Garnish with an orange wedge (and squeeze some of the juice into the glass).



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