The working title for my cookbook was Notes from a Modern Hostess, because one of my huge loves is having people round for food, drinks and general fun, away from the everyday hamster wheel of life, and because I have some great ideas for streamlining the process.
One of the things I say in my book is that when you are having people over the most important thing is to get a drink in their hands moments after they have walked through the door. Then, if you are running late, or the pie in the oven just won’t hurry up and brown, your guests will feel looked after and can relax whilst you run around.
Equally, I don’t think it takes any more time to make things look good: it’s no more effort to use a pretty glass than an ugly one, and I take great pleasure in opening my mid-century cocktail cabinet, and surveying the array of glasses, ice buckets and bar tools stored within. Some I have bought and some I have collected myself – I love the modern way of mixing up, say, IKEA and West Elm, with finds from Ebay, garage sales, antique shops and the like.
I try not to over complicate my aperitifs either. I’ve always loved the simplicity and speed in serving Campari and Tonics with a slice of orange, and recently I’ve discovered how easy it is to make delicious Americanos and Negronis at home (I’ve been watching the barmen at Soho House like hawks to pick up tips) to the point where I can now make them by eye. The refreshing bitter and sweet taste of Campari is the perfect forerunner to supper, when you don’t want anything too sickly to fur up your palate.
As we are now in the run up to the holiday season, my friends at Campari have given me the authentic recipes for the three most famous cocktails, mentioned above, – loved by both me and the delectable Kate Hudson, star of the new Campari calendar.
Simplicity is often the key to the best results. And this drink proves the point. All it takes is a touch of tonic water to make an irresistible, thirst-quenching cocktail.
1 part (1.25oz, 3,75cl) Campari
3 parts tonic water
Build the drink in a juice glass with ice. Garnish with a slice of lime.
Created in 1933, Campari and red vermouth met ice and soda to create the famous Americano. A legend says that the drink was given the nickname of Primo Carnera, the first Italian to win the heavyweight boxing title, in New York.
1 part (1oz) Campari
1 part (1oz) red vermouth (we like Cinzano Rosso)
Splash of soda water
Pour the ingredients directly in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice-cubes, add a splash of soda water and garnish with an orange slice and lemon peel.
Legend has it that on his return from England in 1919, Count Camillo Negroni asked his favourite bar to prepare his usual Americano with seven drops of gin instead of soda. A legend was born and still continues strong today as one of the most famous Italian cocktails in the world.
1 part (1oz) Campari
1 part (1oz) Gin
1 part (1oz) red vermouth
1 slice of orange
Pour all ingredients directly into a rock glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.
The Campari Calendar 2016, of which only 9,999 copies are printed, will not go on sale but will be internationally distributed to friends of Campari around the world.
We have a copy of The Campari Calendar 2016 to giveaway to an LLG reader: simply leave a comment below telling us whether you are bitter or sweet – and why!
This post was written in association with Campari.