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The Handbook

Time To Renew Your Gin Membership! London Cocktail Week Is Coming…

Samuel, Fishwick

Evening Standard | 8th August 2018

If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway. Take the Negroni, a drink that has risen from occasional tipple to summer dominance in the past four years. It’s untouchable, the cocktail circuit’s stalwart, erupting from obscurity to swallow the market (by being swallowed by punters in turn). Variations on the theme come and go: from cherry to peach Negronis at Forza Win, to experiments with mezcal, but London remains red.

As a result, then, every bright-eyed bartender’s dream is to invent “the Negroni killer”: a drink that will tackle the Campari titan and give punters something fresh to stream into their highballs.

Enter the Americano Spagliato, an Italian classic being given a new lease of life at Beso in Seven Dials, a Moorish-Mediterranean restaurant run by chef Khalid Dahbi. An Americano is a (slightly) weaker Negroni, and is strictly an old recipe. “Spagliato means mistake, or ‘broken’, and the beauty of the drink is that it comes from a deliberate error,” says Bruna Battaglia, bar manager at Beso. “It’s said to be the result of a busy bartender mistakenly using sparkling wine instead of gin in a Negroni, which turned out to be a beautiful accident. Sometimes getting it wrong can lead to something happy. The key of the mistake here is the pedrino sherry tonic, with a full nose of citrus botanicals, which replaces the gin.” It’s a glorious screw-up, in other words, and it’s toppling the Negroni’s dominance this summer.


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