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BBaF Podcast Episode 21: Negroni Week with Anne Louise Marquis

In honor of Negroni Week sweeping the cocktail land next week (June 4-10), I spoke with Anne Louise Marquis, the National Portfolio Brand Ambassador of Campari America.

Negroni Week is a celebration of one of the most perfect cocktail creations – the equal parts drink of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, but most importantly it is an international charity event that raises money for a variety of global causes. It is sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari and has grown into a worldwide event with over 7,000 venues and businesses participating, but it has humble origins, originally starting out as “Negroni Social” with just a couple of bartenders in Portland, Oregon.

Find out all you need to know about Negroni Week and how you too can drink for a good cause by listening to this episode with the very charming Anne Louise! “ – me

For our recipe this week we are sharing one of Anne Louise’s favorite variations, The Right Hand, a cocktail created in 2007 by Michael Mcilroy at Milk & Honey in NYC.

The Right Hand
1.5 oz Aged Rum (Matusalem Gran Reserva)
.75 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
.75 oz Campari
2 dashes chocolate bitters (Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters)

Stir over cracked ice until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass. Citrus garnish optional.


photos of Anne Louise Marquis taken by Allison Webber

It’s Negroni Week! Make a Negroni Snow Cone!

Negroni Week officially starts TODAY! Presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, this seven-day celebration of all things bitter, ruby-red and delicious is also all for a great cause.

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Negroni Week launched in 2013 as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world. From 2013 to 2014, Negroni Week grew from more than 100 participating venues to more than 1,200 participating venues around the world and more than $120,000 raised for charities.

In 2015, more than 3,500 venues around the world mixed their favorite Negroni variations and raised over $320,000 for charitable causes.

This year Negroni Week takes place from June 6-12 with over 6,000 participating bars, restaurants and retailers.

Negroni Snowcone

The growth of Negroni Week has been accompanied by the rising popularity of this cocktail. Because of its bittersweet reputation, it IS an acquired taste. But once you come around, you’re hooked. This is now a favorite of so many. And, one of the reasons why, besides it being ridiculously delicious and complex, is that it is one of the simplest cocktail to make – equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. For the last couple of years, I’ve done my own twists on this very basic recipe. This year, since I’m California living and it seems as though summer is in full swing, I decided to make a snow cone version!

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Crushed ice, I’ve found, is unbelievably easy to create in a decent blender, and the snow cone “syrup” is literally the cocktail ingredients poured over it. If you don’t consume the infused ice immediately, it soon turns into a slushy, but then, hey, you have a negroni slushy! Not a bad deal on a hot summer’s day either!

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Negroni Snow Cone
1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
Crushed Ice

Add the Gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth to a mixing glass and set aside. In a blender, add 4-6 ice cubes and enough water that the cubes float above the blades. Blend gradually to a high-speed until ice is well crushed. Drain off water and immediately scoop into a glass.  Strain the negroni over the crushed ice. Option: Twist a large orange peel over drink and add to glass for garnish.

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Get Ready For Negroni Week with The Cajun Negroni

You’re about to get burned so good.

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You guys! It’s already the end of MAY! Summer is practically heavy breathing down our necks (oh, hello there, summer), and I haven’t even switched out my closet yet! #SmallClosetProbs!!! On top of all that, it’s Negroni Week NEXT week and I’m SUPER late to the party! Buuuut, not too late. Let’s just say, I’m just being fashionable. Because, let’s be real, we all know you can show up any damn time you want to the party if you are brangin’ it. And by “it”, I mean booze. And by “booze”, I mean a game changer of a cocktail. It hasn’t even happened yet, but I’m pretty sure I straight up killed Negroni Week, you guys. Murdered. Dead. Dunzo. The end. Oh, it’s not a competition, you say? It’s “…a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails AND an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world”?? Well, that’s just the cherry on top of this Campari zinger, my friends. Because I am here to tell you that yes, you can go out and support all of those bars and restaurants in your area generously participating in this week-long event, and you definitely should, but then you can go home and make this Cajun cutie, get your bitter burn on and thank the cocktail gods for aligning the stars to bring these flavors together. Or…you can just thank me. Awww, YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all, “Hey P Rose! So what, you made a Negroni, which is practically perfect already, and then you threw some TABASCO® in there and a little bubbly water, and you think you’re a genius?? Big whoop! Who the eff are you?!” Ouch. Harsh, guys. Well, guess what? Sometimes it’s the subtlest tweaks that can make a world of difference, that can transform something from amazing to aMAHzing. Those three to four generous dashes of TABASCO® not only give this Negroni some delightful heat, but also adds a little salt and acid (from the vinegar) that this cocktail can most definitely benefit from. And topping this drink off with a little sparkling water will just lighten up the entire drink, guaranteeing a steady rotation on your home cocktail menu all summer long.

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I wanted to keep the Negroni recipe classic, for the most part, because we can all get a little crazy trying to think outside the box for Negroni week…and then we end up with something that barely resembles the original cocktail. So, the ratio is still equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, stirred over ice with an orange twist. Keeping it classic, also makes the addition of TABASCO® and sparkling water feel like a major bonus to an already enchanting cocktail. These additions only enhance the original cocktail as a whole. Who says you can’t improve upon perfection??

Cajun Negroni

Cajun Negroni
1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Dolin Vermouth Rouge
3-4 dashes of TABASCO® Original Red Sauce
Sparkling Water
Orange Peel garnish

Add the Gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth to an ice-filled mixing glass. Add the TABASCO® and stir with a cocktail spoon until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with large cubed ice. Top with 1/2-1 ounce sparkling water. Twist a large orange peel over drink and add to glass for garnish.

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Negroni Week & The Countess Negroni

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Negroni Week is almost upon us! And I’ve been tasked to come up with my own spin on this near perfect and increasingly popular cocktail from the folks helping to sponsor this fun and charitable event, Imbibe Magazine. Pretty tall order, since the original recipe is basically flawless: 1 part gin, 1 part Campari and 1 part sweet vermouth. But, I love a Boulevardier, and I’ve had other variations on this classic recipe that I’ve been into, so I was more than willing to give it a shot!

As I mentioned a few days ago, the Negroni is rumored to have been created in the 1920s when Count Camillo Negroni asked his favorite bartender at Cafe Casoni in Florence, Italy to stiffen up his Americano with gin, and to take out that silly bubbly water, because…more booze. Duh. You know that dude was just getting bit by a fleet of foxes on the regular. But what about Countess Negroni? Did she exist? Was she fabulous? (I suppose I could research this…but, that’s an internet wormhole I think I’ll stay away from now.) In any case, I like to imagine she had a bit of fun too. This cocktail was created with her in mind. Take that, Count! Your lady, who may or may not have existed, has a drink now too!

The Countess Negroni RecipeThe Countess Negroni
1 1/2 oz Owney’s Rum
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Armadillo Cake Atsby Vermouth
grapefruit peel for garnish

All ingredients can be stirred with ice until well chilled. Strain into a short glass with a few rocks and garnish with grapefruit peel.

Even though most Negroni fans can agree that this drink can be sipped year round, since Negroni Week is from June 2nd to June 8th, I wanted to put more of a summery spin on my version.  Grapefruit and Campari is like a marriage made in citrus heaven. And white rum always makes me think of summer! Naturally, I wanted to use a BBaF favorite, Brooklyn-made, Owney’s Rum. This deliciously smooth rum works so well in this riff on a Negroni because it’s not overly sweet, has a little spice and works well with citrus and bitter flavors. It also happens to be made by my favorite lady booze maker, Bridget Firtle from The Noble Experiment. It seemed like the perfect fit for this viva la femme cocktail. Keeping it local, I was excited to use a different kind of vermouth, instead of the standard Italian sweet vermouth. And I opted for Atsby “Armadillo Cake” Vermouth. This modern, aromatic vermouth is less sweet and bitter than what most people are used to. It’s earthy and sexy and floral, with a hint of chamomile. I’ve also paired these two local spirits before and loved the result!

photo by luciebelle photography

photo by luciebelle photography

I hope you get out there next week for Negroni Week! Bars around the world will be mixing up this beloved cocktail and donating proceeds to their favorite charities. Check out the participating bars and drink your charitable ass off!

 

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Negroni Week is Coming…

Negroni Week

Fans of the Negroni cocktail, listen up! Your favorite time of year is fast approaching! The first week in June marks Negroni Week. Sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, this event is both delicious and charitable…

Inspired by Douglas Derrick’s Negroni Social event at Nostrana in Portland, Oregon, Imbibe launched Negroni Week, a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails and an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world. From June 2-8, 2014, bars across the U.S. (and some around the world) will be mixing up their favorite Negroni variations and donating a portion of proceeds from each one sold to a charity of their choice. Last year, hundreds of bars participated in Negroni Week, and we expect even more to be part of the 2014 festivities.

And this year, I have the honor of participating in this worthy and delicious event! I’ll be developing my own riff on the Negroni, which also happens to be one of my all time favorites. The recipe will be featured here as well as on NegroniWeek.com. To prep yourselves for this worthwhile cause, take a look at the bars and restaurants in your area that will be participating this year, and which charities they’ve chosen to donate to. Drink for a cause!

BBaF Podcast Episode 34: Amaro Liqueur with Brad Thomas Parsons

Listen to Episode 34: Amaro Liqueur with Brad Thomas Parsons

Amaro, the Italian bitter liqueur, has been used as a digestive in Italy and produced for hundreds of years, and has had a resurgence due to the craft cocktail revival. And yet, outside of Italy and this niche-y industry, the Amaro category is still fairly unknown, and often misunderstood. To be fair, the category can be confusing to even seasoned spirits experts. James Beard award winning author and spirits & bitters expert Brad Thomas Parsons to the rescue!

In our deep dive into all things Amaro in this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, we discuss what exactly makes an Italian bitter liqueur an Amaro, and whether or not Campari, Fernet Branca or Jagermeister fall under that umbrella.

This week’s featured cocktail recipe is the Negroni Sbagliato from BT Parson’s book – Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs

NEGRONI SBAGLIATO
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lightly sparkling wine
Garnish: orange slice or peel

Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled rocks glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish.


Author and cocktail photos: Ed Anderson

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BBaF Podcast Episode 33: Sother Teague “I’m Just Here For the Drinks”

Listen to Episode 33: Sother Teague “I’m Just Here For the Drinks”

After a two week break on the Bit by a Fox Podcast, we are coming back in with a bang! Our guest this week is Sother Teague – a greatly admired veteran barman, teacher, and cocktail expert. He is the Beverage Director at the New York bitters and amaro haven Amor y Amargo, Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Year in 2017, co-host of the ‘Speakeasy’ podcast on Heritage Radio Network…and he’s just added published author to his long list of accomplishments.

His first book I’m Just Here For the Drinks: A Guide to Spirits, Drinking and More Than 100 Extraordinary Cocktails is coming in hot just this week. We talked about how this book came to be, his circuitous road from the being a chef to getting behind the stick, and ultimately knocking it out of the park at every turn.

This week’s featured cocktail recipe is a Negroni variation from Sother’s book I’m Just Here For the Drinks:

Waterproof Watch
1.5 oz London Dry Gin
.75 Amaro Montenegro
.75 Aperol
2 dashes of Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
Orange Twist

Stir all the ingredients over ice until well chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

BBaF Podcast Episode 11: Chicago Style Cocktail Conference

The Chicago Style Cocktail Conference is not your typical booze-fest. The three women founders behind this new cocktail conference coming to Chicago in May – coinciding with the James Beard Awards – are making it a point to address some much needed issues in the cocktail community – such as diversity, sexism and inclusion. They will even touch on substance abuse and sustainability in their featured panels.

Sharon Bronstein, director of marketing for the 86 Co. – a spirits & importing company, Shelby Allison, owner of the celebrated Chicago tiki bar Lost Lake, and Caitlin Laman, decorated bartender and beverage director at the Ace Hotel Chicago are the women behind this forward thinking cocktail conference that is already getting a ton of buzz.

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast I spoke with Shelby Allison, a James Beard Award nominee, and one of the founders of Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.

Listen to Episode 11: Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.” – me

Shelby also revealed to us her current go-to, pre-batched cocktail that she keeps in the fridge for a moment’s notice – The Florentine – an equal parts cocktail created at NYC bar, Attaboy.

In the spirit of the Negroni, this equal parts drink has vermouth and a bitter-sweet Italian liqueur. But in this stirred cocktail, the vermouth is dry and is accompanied by a low ABV (alcohol by volume) aperitif wine – Cocchi Americano. Cynar – an Amaro made from artichokes – is much darker and herbaceous than its Italian relative, Campari. This aromatic combo makes for a complex, rich and bittersweet sipper.

The Florentine created at New York’s Attaboy
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, and then strain into a cocktail glass. Optional garnish: orange peel.

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Bartender Style: Speed Rack’s Ivy Mix & Lynnette Marrero

Bartender Style is a collaboration between Bit by a Fox and photographer Rose Callahan. This monthly series, exclusively on the Bit by a Fox blog, will explore and document the personal style of some of the best bartenders in New York City and beyond. This month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are featuring two of the baddest babes in the bartending biz, who are also the powerhouse team behind Speed Rack, the first international, all-female bartending competition that donates 100% of their proceeds to breast cancer awareness, prevention, and research. Meet Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero!

Ivy affectionately calls Lynnette her “work wife”. As far as long-term relationships go, these ladies have this “work marriage” thing on lock.

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In the four years that Ivy and Lynnette have successfully run Speed Rack, “the roller derby of cocktail competitions”, they have raised over $350,000 globally for breast cancer research and charities, have built an international network of women who consider them mentors, and have created a unique fundraising model that spirits brands and charities alike continue to look to as an example of grassroots success.

093015_7922And all this has happened in between their constant globe-trotting, serving as judges for other cocktail competitions, guest speaking at seminars, and consulting with a variety of brands, all the while getting behind the stick on a regular basis. Oh, and then there was that time back in May after building out an entire restaurant in Brooklyn Ivy decided to run a half marathon the same week it opened. A mere two months later, she went on to win the prestigious title of Best American Bartender of the Year at the Tales of the Cocktail Festival’s Spirited Awards, which is pretty much the Oscars of the booze industry.

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And just this last month, they were awarded together as some of The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink 2015 from Food & Wine and Fortune Magazine for their impressive work with Speed Rack.

This latest accolade is a cherry on top of the many awards and achievements these two have scooped up separately during their esteemed careers behind the bar, including a James Beard Award given to Lynnette in 2009 for being one of America’s Leading Female Mixologists. You’re looking at the Beyoncés of the cocktail world, people. These ladies get to WERK!

And they both always seem to look so fetching while doing it.

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On the surface, Lynnette and Ivy are pretty different. Lynnette is a curvy pin-up type, drawn to feminine silhouettes (one of her go-to online shops is the Bettie Page Store), and she strictly wears dresses behind the bar.

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Lynette, a former pageant princess (she was Miss Manhattan in a past life!), is not afraid of bright florals and prints and a little decolletage, and is often seen with a tropical flower tucked behind her ear at events.

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Noticing at a young age that she had a good amount of gray coming in, she was finally convinced by her art director husband a few years ago to let her hair go natural.

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Barely into her 30s, she knew that it would take great confidence to pull it off. Luckily, Lynnette has that in spades. But no matter, because, turns out, she has GORGEOUS salt and pepper locks that complement her skin tone beautifully. So much so, that she seems to glow behind the bar or in front of it!

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Ivy is the leggy tomboy who may have perfected her effortless half-damp top knot thrown up at the last possible minute and the all-American fresh-faced look while she was a budding equestrian in her youth in Vermont, or when she was the captain of her lacrosse team in high school or while studying abroad in college…

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Whenever this casual, cool, Noxzema-girl look came together really doesn’t matter. The point is, it’s totally working for her. May we all look this radiant on so little sleep!

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Ivy has a love of rompers (she calls them onesies!). She pretty much sticks with this uniform, which she also refers to as her “work pajamas”, while working at Leyenda, her newly opened Latin American cocktail bar in Brooklyn with partner and mentor Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge fame.

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Ivy lived in Guatemala for four years post-college, and it was there that she first fell in love with bar culture while working at a place called Café No Sé. When it came time to conceptualize her own place, Ivy decided that she wanted to bring that part of the world into the charming Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, merging the places she loves so much.

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Her attraction to religious iconography and symbols can be seen throughout. And her idea to merge the Latin American culture and what we have come to recognize as a Brooklyn restaurant aesthetic can be seen in the rustic woodwork and the details in the tin ceiling spanning the place.

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While Ivy admits to borrowing dresses from Lynnette because she’s “bad at being a girl”, and prefers wearing Timberland boots behind the bar because of the supportive heel versus Lynette who likes to wear fancy Crocs because they are light and washable…

093015_7911_lores…the ladies’ style converges when it comes to the signature look for Speed Rack. The overall look for the high energy cocktail competition is a combo of sporty and bad-ass with heavy retro inspiration from Rosie the Riveter.

 Pink bandannas are their trademark, tying the breast cancer awareness signature color and the feminist cultural icon together.

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The resulting Speed Rack image is confident, feminine and fierce, not unlike the ladies who dreamt up the concept of Speedrack in order to showcase women bartenders around the world, and elevate their status in the business, while simultaneously directly impacting breast cancer awareness. They’ve managed to change the face of the bartending world on an international scale, making a difference on a number of levels, and they happen to be having a kick-ass time doing it.

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Both ladies shared Latin inspired cocktail recipes with us. Lynnette’s Flor de Rosa is a beautiful, ruby-hued tipple inspired by spirits writer Kara Newman’s Caramel Negroni.

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Flor de Rosa – Lynette Marrero, Drinks at 6
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Angostura Amaro
1 oz Aged Rum
Garnish: orange twist and orchid.

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Ivy shared an unusual pisco sour variation called Buena Onda (good/awesome wave) off the Leyenda menu. I haven’t had a bad cocktail yet at Leyenda and this is one of my favorites!

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Buena Onda – Ivy Mix, Leyenda
2oz Yerba Mate infused Kappa Pisco
1/2 oz fresh lime
1/2 oz fresh lemon
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz egg white

Dry shake, add ice, shake again. Serve up and garnish with grapefruit bitters..

Speed Rack’s fifth national tour kicks-off on November 15, 2015 in the United States and travels to eight cities – Chicago, New York, San Antonio, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Boston before crowning a winner at the Speed Rack U.S. Finals in New York in May 2016. For more information, head to their website.

Memorial Day = Summer! = Spritz!!!

Americano Spritz
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! If you’re in New York, I hope you’ve been basking in the heaven-sent sunshine that decided to make a comeback just in time to usher us all into the summer season. While it’s not technically summer, this is the weekend that always kicks things off. And, it also marks the beginning of my months long obsession with the Aperol Spritz. Or “spreetz” as they are called in Venice, Italy. (You have to say that, when ordering, with a super heavy Italian accent, by they way, otherwise it won’t be as fun.) Normally, during this time of year, I’m sampling this traditional Italian aperitif cocktail all over town, and this year is no different, except my obsession is exacerbated by the fact that I’m heading to Italy in a couple of weeks…and I can’t get enough. Aperol Spritzers all day every day! I’m having a hard time NOT telling my bartender/server/person I’m with every time I order one of these that I’m just prepping for when I can get a “real” one in Venice in a couple of weeks. But…I try not to be an asshole when I’m in public, so I’ve been abstaining from commenting at all.

The Americano cocktail (Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Club Soda) is also a delightfully low alcohol, refreshing tipple during the warmer season. But I can never remember to order it. It’s the Aperol Spritz that always comes to mind when I’m craving orange-y, bitter Italian liqueur and bubbles. But, I thought for this Memorial Day post, I’d do a mash-up of an Aperol Spritz and an Americano cocktail. Fun fact: The Americano was the first cocktail ordered by James Bond in the very first book, Casino Royale, and is so named because of its popularity with American tourists during Prohibition. And…is rumored to have been the inspiration behind the Negroni cocktail. Supposedly, Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender to strengthen his favorite cocktail by adding gin instead of soda water. Dude really wanted to get bit by a fox!

Americano Spritz
3-4 oz Brut Prosecco
2 oz Aperol
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Club Soda

Pour the Aperol and dry vermouth into a large, high ball glass with some ice. Top with prosecco and club soda. Garnish with cherry, lemon wheel or little flag!

Make this drink today or any day this summer. Also, it’s your patriotic duty to watch Little Edie perform her flag dance. Enjoy!

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