April 25 is Liberation Day in Italy, so here at The Drunkard’s Almanac we’ll be mixing up the Milano-Torino cocktail. Its an important holiday in Italy, so this can be the starter for your own festivities. It’s a perfect low ABV aperitif made of entirely Italian ingredients, even if it is outside our usual array of stiff drinks. The Milano-Torino recipe is also dead simple, so let’s get to it.
We all know the general theme of the mid-20th century conflagration commonly known as World War II. But in the midst of that series of episodes, on April 25, 1945 the National Liberation Committee of Upper Italy claimed a seizure of power and proclaimed the death sentence for all fascist leaders. So now April 25 is Italy’s Liberation Day, or Anniversary of Italy’s Liberation – a national holiday – commemorating the end of Nazi occupation and the victory of the Resistance.
Of course, this came with some flourishes. Benito Mussolini and close cohorts were summarily shot by a partisan leader under the nom de guerre Colonello Valerio. Not to leave well enough alone, the bodies were loaded into a van and driven south into Milano. They were dumped on the ground in the Piazzale Loreto, where they were spat on and kicked for a while. After those festivities they were hung upside down from the roof of a gas station and stoned by civilians. It was a busy day.
Northern Italy was fully liberated by May 1, 1945, which put to end twenty-three years of fascist dictatorship and five years of war. It was also the start of the political journey in Italy that led to the referendum of 2 June 1946, when Italians opted for the end of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic. The Constitution of the Republic followed in 1946.
So where does this leave us? Pretty well off, even aside from the ultimate defeat of fascism in Europe. After all, we have an Italian holiday and a variety of Italian ingredients to make use of.
When we look at Italian cocktail history to find an appropriate drink we happily find the Milano-Torino Cocktail. It’s a perfect aperitif, making use of two ingredients we commonly mix but which were originally intended to stand alone to whet the appetite before a meal.
Yes, we’re talking about Sweet Vermouth and Campari. Here we pay tribute to their cities of origin – Campari from Milano and Sweet Vermouth from Torino. You can’t get much simpler – just two ordinary household ingredients. It’s also the progenitor of the Negroni, not to mention the Americano for those who prefer a lighter, tall drink.
- Old Fashioned Glass
- 1½ oz Sweet Vermouth
- 1½ oz Campari
- Garnish: orange wedge or twist
- This is one to simply build in the glass.
- Add ice, add sweet vermouth and Campari. Stir.
- Garnish with lemon wedge or twist.