2.4 The Negroni Family
Something dry, something sweet, something bitter... in equal parts
The bittersweet, yet refreshing and full-bodied Negroni is a stunning example of the classic gin cocktails that are currently returning to fashion. No longer are bartenders distracted by the vast array of magical gin flavours that dominated hen parties of the 20teens. Instead, we are focusing our mixology skills on resurrecting classic gin cocktails.
Here are my three Negroni serves that you can easily make at home
The success of many cocktails depends on the balancing act of this motto: ‘Something dry, something sweet, something bitter’. For a Negroni, it is crucial to remember the motto’s extension: ‘…in equal parts’.
The Timeless Classic
For a classic Negroni, add gin, red vermouth and Campari in equal measures to a tumbler glass. An old-fashioned whiskey glass adds an air of elegance to your drinking experience, and I think it is always nicer to drink from a thin rim. Stir with four or five cubes of ice for around eight seconds. I like to rub the rind of the orange slice garnish around the edge of the glass before dropping it in. This releases those tantalising citrus oils and creates an intoxicating aroma.
A quality, velvety red vermouth will coat the inside of your mouth much like a vintage red wine. This effect, similar to that described by sommeliers, encourages your tongue to become susceptible to the subtle botanicals concealed in a quality gin.
A Taste of Royalty
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a stolid proponent of the British Empire, enjoyed a small dose of Italian flamboyance, and looked to the French to tickle her dry sense of humour. Let me introduce the Contessa, the lighter and drier take on the Negroni, loved by Her Majesty and loathed by few. Consisting of a London dry style gin, a French dry vermouth, and Aperol, this cocktail is made in exactly the same way to a classic Negroni. The only difference is the fluorescent orange of Aperol. Maybe the best serve for anyone who does not care for red drinks.
If neither orange nor red are your favourite colours, how about the luminescent glow of a Bianco Negroni? Suze is a really interesting, bright greeny-yellow, bitters from the French Alps that promises earthy flavours and a bitingly bitter bouquet. Stir with a quality gin and superior dry vermouth and garnish with something from your herb garden; thyme or rosemary will work amazingly. Or how about setting off some floral fireworks and subbing in some gorgeous Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto instead of the bitters? The Italicus Negroni is a much fruitier and lighter option, but no less sophisticated. Garnish with three olives.