Easy Campari Cocktails to Enjoy on a Lazy Summer Afternoon: Garibaldi
Fresh juice is the key to a great drink.
This simple, five-word phrase can be understood by anyone, regardless of whether Kirby wrote comics or not.
The Garibaldi was not on Kirby's mind, but it could've been. It, too, is bittersweet. In addition to being simple with just two ingredients, it is also profound with its buoyant texture and rich flavor, though it would not be right to call it obvious, as cocktails go. Rather, it was an idea in a good time.
Over the past century, Dante has been serving the Garibaldi cocktail on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, a Manhattan institution. With its 2015 facelift, Dante looks like a Wes Anderson-designed Italian aperitif bar, but owner Linden Pride and creative director Naren Young are still dedicated to paying homage to the old Italian neighborhood vibes while looking forward to the future as well. It worked. It was named the Best Bar in the World by the 50 Best people in 2019.
Since roughly forever, Campari has been mixed with orange juice to make the Garibaldi, and it acquired its name, we think, by the late ‘80s. Campari is from Milan, in the north, and oranges grow famously in Sicily, in the south, and so it was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, a prominent figure who led the unification of Italy. The mixology movement, renowned more among Italian grandfathers than American bartenders, does not even mention it, even though it is popular in Italy and old Italian American cafes like Dante.
It was one of Dante's greatest insights in the last two decades of this craft that altered all of that with a single invention. It was not to add bitters or tinctures or vacuum seal a house-made whatever, but rather to alter the texture, the very medium of the drink. In its original form, the Garibaldi was flat. Boring, even dead. The drink could be shaken to give it new life, however the ice melt would thin it out. There were a dozen more interesting things to do with Campari, even for an amateur, besides having it as brunch or something low-proof.
Young and his team made the decision to cut off the peel and pith from oranges in order to juice them to order in a high-speed Breville juicer. This appears to be a minor modification; however, it is not. It was rare for people to juice citrus in centrifugal juicers at that time, and if someone did, it was a hilarious error that was made by a brand new bar prep, something that you would gently remind the child not to repeat.
Young, however, saw this old Italian classic as an opportunity to reimagine and revive it, just as he had done with Dante. Unlike traditional orange juice, Dante's is pulverized. The whirling blades send out white and frothy juice, which when mixed with Campari and ice creates an aperitif that is both blissful and profound, texturally playful, vividly flavorful, brutally simple, and as bitter and sweet as life.
- 1.5 oz. Campari
- 4 oz. “Fluffy” Orange Juice
The liquids should be added to a short glass with three ice cubes and stirred to combine. Add an orange wedge for garnish.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS
It's hard not to play with Campari, when it comes to drinks like the Negroni. Honestly, I don't know if any of Campari's competitors would not be at least interesting to me, but I haven't messed around too much with this variable because I'm so in love with this drink as it is.
Try bright red aperitifs like Cappelletti Aperitivo, Select Bitter, Luxardo Bitter and others. Something earthy like Cynar or floral like Amaro Montenegro will make a totally different drink, but Cappelletti Aperitivo, Select Bitter, Luxardo Bitter and others can all make an interesting and tasty drink.
My temptation is to tell you to get a centrifugal juicer just for Garibaldis, but I admit that’s a bit much. I’ll assume you have one in your closet somewhere, and you should certainly use it for Garibaldis. Add the juice to the blender, and blend on high for approximately 10 seconds. I am happy to report that a good blender does almost the same.
If you'd like, you can shake the orange juice, but do not shake it with ice because you'll get very thin, slightly aerated juice.
In all honesty, Campari and regular orange juice are still pretty good, as long as they are fresh. When I say fresh, I don’t mean “not from concentrate.” I mean fresh, as in just juiced your oranges. I assumed, as I'm sure most of the time, that the 1980s Garibaldi was made with bottled orange juice when I was being unkind to it above. There is a huge difference between fresh orange juice and even one-day-old orange juice, and we have said this before.