While the weather in much of the country seems determined to deny that spring is here—snow in Seattle in April, really?—the calendar doesn't lie, nor do the ambitious daffodils in the yard that are biding their time until warmer weather comes.
Even though I have to don my heavy coat just to go outside and check the mail, my palate knows that spring is here. And along with the asparagus and spring onions that will soon be popping up in the farmer's markets, one thing I'm yearning for as the season starts to change is a crisp, bitter brightness in my cocktails.
Sure, you can drink Campari at any time of year, but for me there's something about spring and early summer that makes the garnet Italian amaro exceptionally appealing. A Negroni is a standard go-to Campari cocktail; here's a variation on the Negroni that also makes a lot of sense. Developed by German bartender and drinks writer Bastian Heuser, the Agavoni replaces the Negroni's gin with the bright spark of a silver tequila. Accenting the Campari's citrus notes with a couple of dashes of orange bitters, the Agavoni breathes new life into the venerable classic.
To me, it simply tastes like spring. Even if you have to turn up the heat and put on a sweater to ward off the arctic chill while retrieving the ingredients from the liquor cabinet, mix an Agavoni this weekend and reassure your palate that sunny days are indeed ahead.
- 3/4 ounce silver tequila (Heuser recommends Tapatio Blanco)
- 3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
- 3/4 ounce Campari
- 2 dashes orange bitters (The Bitter Truth is a recommended brand)
Fill a Delmonico or Old Fashioned glass with ice and add ingredients. Stir briefly to mix and chill, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.