After five years of working together, repeated emails, and even a podcast episode, I finally got to meet Todd Leopold in the flesh today. He dropped by the Redwood City store to say hello and bring me sample of his new Campari-esque aperitivo; for which he is currently out from Colorado to promote. I was very excited to meet him as we've been big fans of Leopold Bros from some time, and we're always looking for ways to work together on future projects.
I don't want to get too ahead of myself here (mainly because we won't have the product for another week or so), but I can safely say that the Leopold Aperitivo is the first real challenger to Campari in the modern age of amari and digestivos. Ever since the Negroni re-emerged as the cocktail de jour of the neo-booze renaissance, companies from all over the world have been looking to piggyback off of Campari's rediscovered glory and insert their own form of bitter liqueur into the conversation. As a devout devotee of Campari myself, I've been disappointed too many times in the past by the promise of a new hope, only to find myself going back to the red-tinted rescue of my first true love. Today, however, I may have finally been tempted into adultery.
The Leopold Aperitivo is slightly more bitter, slightly more sweet, and slightly more expressive than the standard Campari formula, and get this: Todd is actually using cochineal from Peru to color the liquid! Much like Campari once did before they switched over to a red chemical dye (so this aperitivo will not be vegan). It's going to blow your minds. I'm in for a few hundred bottles, if that gives you any inclination as to what I think about this little elixir. Get ready.