The Essential Guide to Italian Spirits

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 02:50
Negroni and other cocktails with gin / Photo: Maurese via Shutterstock
Negroni and other gin-based cocktails / Photo: Maurese via Shutterstock

“Why do we refer to alcohol as spirits?”

The question came unsolicited from a man swirling his Negroni, tossed out in the dim light of Harry’s Bar in Florence. He enjoyed the favored seat with the brass plaque labeled “Liz Taylor,” but no one responded at first. The bartender continued to towel dry the cocktail glass in his hands, smiling and leaving room for one of his regulars to take a stab at the question. 

“All alcohol is called spirits,” offered one, as he t

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