August 21st is National Spumoni Day and, because I enjoy creating cocktails for all the arbitrary food holidays (and I had a bottle of Dumante pistachio liqueur), I gave Google a peek to see if there was anything called a Spumoni cocktail. Spumoni is a molded Italian ice cream dessert from Napoli made with layers of chocolate, pistachio and cherry gelatos mixed sometimes with whipped cream and candied fruits and nuts. It was the inspiration for our American Neopolitan ice cream combination.
Considering this, I expected to see either nothing at all or something with those flavors involved. What I found instead were several references to an equal parts Campari, grapefruit juice and tonic recipe and a few that subbed in Midori for the Campari.
Say what? What is "Spumoni" about that? (I know, you probably don't care, you just want a cocktail, but this kind of booze minutia intrigues my trivia addiction so bear with me - or just skip to the cocktail recipe.) Turns out, not much. Evidently, Suntory made a canned cocktail called "Spumoni" made with those ingredients that was popular in Japan at one time. Why they called it Spumoni is anybodies guess, unless it was fizzy from the tonic so they referred back to the Latin word spuma which translates as “foam” with the plural being spumoni. A Spumoni Cocktail made with Campari, grapefruit juice and tonic can still be found in bars there.
The Japanese version actually sounds pretty refreshing, albeit a tad bitter for American tastes, and it would make a nice apéritif, but, let's face it, it's got nothing to do with Italy's Spumoni ice cream. That combination of chocolate, pistachio and cherry was what I was looking for when the word Spumoni was involved and that was what I was going to have to drink on National Spumoni Day. Plus I had that Dumante staring me down.