Count of Cavour Cocktail

The last weekends of September are full of chores and rearrangements from summer things to fall and winter ones. The liquor cabinet is no exception, and the breezy summer tipples are moved around in favour of the warming ones, designed for cooler evenings. The gin might stay on the shelf, but now it’s cozying up to the Vermouth rather than the tonic. In the midst of shuffling around two of my summer drink stand-by’s, Aperol and Lillet, it occurred to me that the bitter orange Italian man might get along with the sweet yellow French lady, and I mixed them up into an early autumn cocktail I am calling The Count of Cavour.

Camillo Benso, the most famous Count of Cavour, was the first Prime Minister of Italy, who tragically died before Garibaldi marched on Rome in 1870 and sealed the Risorgimento he had spent his political life working towards. The Piedmontese politician’s connection to my newly invented drink is nonexistent beyond the catchiness of his title and that it eludes to a marriage of French and Italian booze. Aperol, which I think of as Campari’s more subdued and subtle cousin comes from Padua in the Veneto, and Lillet (Blanc in this case) is the fortified wine aperitif of Bordeaux. Both are widely available at government controlled liquor distribution depots.

To make a Count of Cavour, take roughly one part Aperol to one part Lillet and mix, on the rocks, with two parts Perrier or San Pellegrino or whaterver bubbly water you prefer. Garnish your Count of Cavour a lemon, and enjoy.

A word of warning: they go down easy and at roughly 25% alcohol in each liquor pack a punch. I have found one does the trick, and a second is asking for trouble.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at