Seeking to wring every last drink out of my brief stay in Milan, I arranged to meet my friend and host M for last call at Bar Basso, a proudly classic, slightly hokey cocktail bar famous for being the birthplace of possibly my favorite cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato, or wrong Negroni.
The Negroni Sbagliato is simply a Negroni made with prosecco instead of gin. Just Campari, dry vermouth, and prosecco. I was introduced to the drink just a few years ago at a restaurant called Dell'Anima in the West Village, whose proprietor Joe Campanale has had great success with a variation involving roasted orange.
The cocktail's genesis story - all successful cocktails have at least one - is that Bar Basso's proprietor's father was mixing a Negroni and grabbed the wrong bottle, presumably realising his error when the ostensible gin bubbled and fizzed. The cocktail thus born is buoyant, bitter, immensely refreshing, and notably less inebriating than a classic Negroni, therefore ideally suited to endless aperitivo hours. It's also completely idiot-proof, with the exception of one time in Paris when I received it in a piddling frouffy champagne flute, which seemed gravely wrong at the time. Then again, before visiting Bar Basso and seeing how a Negroni Sbagliato was served by its originators, how was I to know ?