Cocktail Corner – The Negroni
Our go to cocktail of late is The Negroni. A simple cocktail, found most commonly in Italian restaurants, but is now making its way into craft cocktail bars across America. The Negroni is best known as an aperitif due to its bitter notes brought on by the Campari. Bitter flavors help us get ready for a meal by stimulating the appetite and the palate.
Besides being delicious, here are a few other reasons why when the bartender asks what I’ll have, I regularly say, ‘a Negroni please’.
1. Three Ingredients – no juicing, no odd ingredients. Plus a garnish. Orange is the garnish of choice, but as variations take shape at your bar, so does the choice of garnish.
- Sweet Vermouth
Our gin of choice is Bombay Sapphire. It brings a good gin flavor to the cocktail without clashing with the Campari. For those of you not familiar with Campari, it is an Italian liqueur that has a distinct bitter taste and dark reddish-orange color. It has been produced for over 150 years with the same, secret recipe in Italy. According to the Campari website, it “is the result of the infusion of herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water; these last two being the recipe‟s only known ingredients.” Others have tried to imitate or create other versions of this aperitif, but for the classic Negroni, stick with the original. We generally don’t give a lot of thought to the sweet vermouth, using what we have on hand. Not saying this is the best approach, but we have found most any sweet vermouth works well with the other two ingredients.
2. Simple recipe – easy to remember
The Negroni uses equal portions of each of the three ingredients. This makes it easy to remember, and also easy to tell a bartender who may not be familiar with The Negroni, but is willing to make it for you if you can tell him what’s in it. Make it small, make it big, just make sure you have equal portions.
3. On the rocks, or up
Although most commonly served on the rocks, the Negroni can also be served up, creating a classy martini. We enjoy it both on the rocks and up, picking our preference with the situation. Hot summer day – usually go on the rocks. Dark steakhouse pre-dinner cocktail – that calls for it being served up.
4. A great starting point to create a wide number of variations
Switch out the gin for another spirit. A favorite substitute for us is Rye. It brings a great smokey element, married with the bitter Campari, creating a perfect fall or winter aperitif. To bring down the sweetness a bit, create a Dry Negroni bysubstituting dry vermouth for the sweet vermouth.
5. There is even a national Negroni Week – 2014’s celebration took place across the country the first week of June. Who doesn’t love a cocktail that has its own week of celebration! Get ready for next year by checking out www.negroniweek.com.
- 1 oz. Gin
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
- Orange slice or twist for garnish
Preparation: Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass 3/4 filled with cracked ice for the ‘on the rocks’ version. To serve it up, just strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist or a half slice of orange.
We hope you give this simple cocktail a try. Have fun experimenting with different variations and be sure to share your creation. Cheers!
July 9, 2014 / The Vintage Gourmet / 0
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