The Contessa

A bright red Contessa cocktail in a tumbler glass in the sunlight. A cut orange beside it.

Another angle on a Negroni.

by Erin Henderson

I have a secret.

It's so shameful I've hidden it for years out of blinding terror that the hipster cocktail community will cancel me. 

But. We're all friends here, right? OK, here goes (deep inhale):

I hate Negronis. 

(Lifts head from pillow) Are you still here? 

OK. Thanks for understanding. 

I'm actually not a fan of Campari in general. For my delicate palate, I find the bitterness overwhelming, usually dominating any cocktail it's in – and not that good way of being dominated. 

So when I stumbled upon The Contessa – a riff on the Negroni that swaps the brawny Campari with its softer cousin Aperol, I took note. It also uses dry vermouth instead of sweet, and seeing how I already love adding a wink of white vermouth to my gin and tonics, I was then sold. 

If you carry the same shame as I, try The Contessa for a kinder, gentler, and frankly, far better drink.

The Contessa

The Contessa is a relatively recent edition to the cocktail playbook, having been invented maybe a decade or so ago, by Boston bartenders. 

Makes: 1 drink
Bartender level: easy

  • 1 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz White Vermouth
  • Orange wheel for garnish
How to Make It: 
  1. Pour all spirits into an ice-filled mixing glass and stir to chill for about 10 seconds. 
  2. Strain into a tumbler with one or two large ice cubes. 
  3. Garnish with an orange wheel and serve.


Hear From Real People!

Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
Thank you very much for your services. Everyone had a fantastic time and loved everything! Thank you again for a successful event and making me look oh so good.
Our guests had a great evening and Erin made sure that everyone (even non-drinkers) enjoyed themselves! Thanks for making the bridal shower so memorable!
Great energy, sense of humour and very knowledgeable! Thank you for making it an afternoon to remember!
Wow, Emily was absolutely fantastic! She was patient, explained the wines well, and was a delight to work with.

Thank you so much for everything I will definitely use your services again.
Erin did a fantastic job with our group. We all really enjoyed the day. I have already recommended The Wine Sisters for my company events, as it was such a great experience for us.
The event was a huge success! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the group was quite engaged. The wine was also delicious! Thank you so much! I hope we can work together on another event in the future!
You were great and hilarious, and made everyone feel comfortable. Appreciate your time with me and helping pull this event together.
Bravo! You were awesome and I loved the presentation, explanation and selection of wines! I just had to reach out and thank you for a wonderful evening. You two are fabulous – great energy and you really like what you do.  You make tasting wine fun!
I’m really pleased with how the event went. Everyone feels really happy with your incredible hosting skills and experience. We all DEFINITELY want to use The Wine Sisters again! Thank you so much!!

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