Campagnolo’s punk-loving bartender mixes a drink perfect for the pre-dinner hour.
Cocktail: Calar del Sole
$12 at Campagnolo (832 Dundas St. W., #DNW)
Campagnolo bartender Josh Lindley isn’t going to mix your pre-dinner cocktail with a gold spoon and white gloves. In fact, the night we interviewed him, he was headed to the Mod Club to catch Fucked Up. Four years ago, Lindley gave up all the grit and glamour of his previous life—working as a music journalist and hardcore band manager—and delved full-time into liquor. (His current job is presumably easier on the liver.)
Lindley’s newest creation, the Calar del Sole, is made with light and sophisticated bar staples: Aperol, Plymouth gin and Martini and Rossi Bianco vermouth with a dash of orange bitters.
“I was going to use Lillet Blanc, but I like to stick to simple stuff that we can get at the LCBO all the time,” says Lindley. “So we just make do with what we have.” Lindley had more reliable access to ingredients like Lillet when he trained at Voya in Vancouver, during the 2010 Olympics. His West Coast sabbatical gave him some hands-on cocktail training with B.C. booze guru Simon Ogden. While there, Lindley also picked up an appreciation for a simple, no-fuss approach to drinks by studying the Vic Bergeron classic, Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic’s.
Simplicity is how Lindley arrived at the Calar del Sole, too. Lindley recalls a customer—an older Italian gentleman—who ribbed him about the serious lack of Aperol on his cocktail menu. The customer called the omission “bullshit” and challenged him to fix it. So Lindley started with the classic proportions of a Negroni and worked up to the Calar del Sole, which became his signature cocktail.
While he has been schooled in punk, he’s no anarchist—the Calar del Sole follows the rules of a perfect Continental aperitif: a balanced, three-part composition of boozy, sweet and bitter, which stimulates the taste buds, perks up the mind and opens the stomach. Next up? Dinner.