It’s not often that a bar’s signature version of a drink becomes more viral than the original. But we’d wager to say that if New York’s Dante hadn’t crowned its Garibaldi with a three-inch-tall layer of fluffy orange juice, the drink—known in Italy simply as Campari-Orange—never would have wedged itself into the canon of modern classics.
Dante’s version has also become the source of a whole battery of new twists on the drink, whether spritzified or fermented. Most, however, hew relatively closely to the original, keeping orange juice intact and Campari front and center. In addition to being simple, however, the formula—4 ounces of juice to 1 1/2 ounces of bitter liqueur—is infinitely malleable. In other words, you can fluff more than OJ, and you can crown more than Campari.
At Dante, the secret to that stable layer of whipped citrus is juicing it to order for each drink in a high-speed Breville juicer. But you can achieve the same level of frothiness by using a hand juicer, then spinning the juice in a high-speed blender (the kind you likely already have at home), with the aid of one or two pieces of ice. Pour your base liqueur(s) into a short Collins glass, add a cube or two of ice and top with a fluffy cloud of citrus.
As fans of the Garibaldi and its cousin, the Spumoni, we got to thinking about what else we could fluff in a blender, and what liqueurs that fluffy citrus (or pineapple!) might pair with. As it turns out, there’s a whole wide world of Garibaldi offshoots patiently awaiting a whirl.
Before fluffy OJ, there was fluffy pineapple. In fact, there is no other fruit juice that takes quite as well to being agitated, whether it’s merely shaken to form a dense layer of foam on a Daiquiri-style drink or buzzed in a blender. Because of its higher sugar content, pineapple does best in a Garibaldi format when countered with lime or grapefruit, which elevates the acidity and bitter or herbal aspects of the base liqueur. The ratio is adjustable to taste, but 3 ounces of pineapple to 1 ounce of lime is our preferred formula. Try it with Chartreuse or génépy, or follow Fanny Chu’s lead: The head bartender at Brooklyn’s Donna layers pineapple, orange and grapefruit juices and splits the liqueur base between Aperol, Giffard Banane du Brésil and a small dose of Jamaican rum in her Tropical Fluff. She considers it a low-ABV Jungle Bird variation that “reminds me of when I was in Hawaii.”
Less than a year ago, the Spumoni was barely more than an obscurity. While Italian in name (it translates to “froth” or “foam”), it’s actually a Tokyo-born drink that many bartenders discovered by way of New York’s Bar Pisellino. The former head bartender, Jon Mullen, first stumbled upon the drink—which consists of Campari, grapefruit juice and tonic water—in an episode of the Japanese anime series Bartender. His version builds on the original with a small measure of gin and pink peppercorn syrup.
Grapefruit, however, pairs with a whole host of aperitivo liqueurs, many of which lean on citrus peel as part of their botanical blends. Suze has long been a house favorite when combined with grapefruit in a spritz format, and the same is true here. Split Ruby Red with orange juice in a one to one ratio to get a little extra foam and cut the bitterness. Or pair white grapefruit and orange with Aperol, bergamot-inflected Italicus or French gentian liqueur Salers. While pink and white grapefruit tend to have the same level of tartness, ruby has a sweeter profile, so look to white if you are working with a base liqueur that leans more sweet than bitter.
While passion fruit is a staple of tropical cocktails, it’s most often deployed by way of a syrup. Fresh passion fruit juice is not exactly easy to procure outside of its native growing regions, but there are a number of high-quality pasteurized versions that, when combined with freshly squeezed citrus juice, are primed for fluffing. Ceres is the most widely available brand, and works well used as a supporting player alongside orange juice and a touch of lime (1/4 to 1/2 ounce goes a long way). A citrus-forward aperitivo liqueur, such as Aperol, Select or Contratto Aperitif, is a worthy companion.
There is no need for creativity to be bound when it comes to the Garibaldi format. You can combine any number of cold-pressed juices and fresh citrus, like yuzu or pomelo, with freshly-squeezed orange juice to achieve a complex riff on the original. Queries as to “Can it froth?” will be met with an affirmative more often than you might think.