Get Nerdy With The Negroni
The Negroni is a delicious yet incredibly simple little drink. However, like most simple and delicious recipes, it still takes care and knowledge to make well. This particular cocktail has become so popular, it even has its own week! Negroni week 2022 is on from September 12th to the 18th, and this year marks 10 years of celebrating and giving back.
So here are our top tips to ensure you make the best Negroni every time, and importantly, the best Negroni recipe to suit your particular palate.
A Closer Look At Ingredients
As always, your choice here will have an impact on your recipe, and you should pick what you like to drink. However, the other ingredients in this recipe are powerful and therefore we would recommend picking a robust Classic Gin, like a classic London Dry. Even more specifically, a citrus led Gin with orange peel is perfect, as it will make sure your Gin isn’t lost in the mix, whilst complimenting the other ingredients.
02. Bitter Aperitivo
The classic Negroni calls for Campari, and that will still do the job very nicely. Other Bitter Aperitivos are now readily available, and there are some great alternatives out there. These days you can even find non alcoholic options!
03. Sweet Vermouth
Your choice of Sweet Vermouth is important and will have a huge impact on the final drink. They all have different characteristics and there are many to choose from today…which is a great problem to have! You can also use other red aromatised wines like Dubonnet or Byrrh.
Noilly Prat Rouge or Dolin Rouge are great vermouth options. Antica Formula is very popular, and it IS delicious. However, we would say it’s too rich and vanillin to use on its own in a Negroni. It’s fantastic in a blend of vermouth though!
As we discussed for the Manhattan and the Vanhall Manhattan, you can also make a blend of different Sweet Vermouths that you like, then bottle them to create your own personal ultimate sweet Vermouth. Store your blend in a sealed and sterilised glass bottle in the fridge, it’s then ready to drink whenever you are.
We love to do this, and you can go beyond Vermouth in your blend by adding a dash or two of peated Scotch for a hint of smoke, or a splash of Sloe Gin to dial up the fruit notes. Take it in whatever direction you want to personalise your cocktails.
Let’s Go Beyond Ingredients
Like the Martini and the Manhattan, this is a cocktail that people become passionate about and over time and make the recipe their own. It’s acceptable to just order a Negroni in a bar without a full list of instructions. However, if you know what you love, you get very particular about how you want it made, and with what ingredients.
Should you stir a Negroni?
The traditional service method is to simply pour the three ingredients into a lowball glass over ice, add a slice of orange and be done. This is OK but consider, it will take some time for the ingredients to chill, and for the required dilution to be added. The drink is therefore not at its best for the first sip.
Our advice is to add the ingredients to a mixing jug and briefly stir with ice first, then serve when it’s chilled and perfectly diluted. This way you don’t have to wait, or impatiently stick your finger into your glass to stir it yourself, it’s ready to drink when served. Being icy cold from stirring, your Negroni will also sit on ice in your glass without melting it for plenty enough time for you to enjoy it at its best.
Not everyone agrees of course, which is fine, and spirited late night discussions have even ended up in print in well-known booze publications…(that was a fun night!)
The Anatomy of the Negroni
We recommend focussing on what matters most, such as your choice of Gin, Vermouth, Bitter Aperitivo and the ratio you want.
When it comes to great cocktails, it’s always about the ratio. The classic calls for equal parts of Gin, Sweet Vermouth and Campari. This is a great ratio that doesn’t really need to be messed around with, but there are always exceptions to the rule.
For example, we did a recipe years ago where the Gin was infused with a delicious Oolong Tea. The tannins from the tea meant that the Campari needed to be backed out a little and therefore the ratios of the drink needed to be slightly reworked.
The art of garnishing
The garnish is the recipe’s final ingredient, and the classic Negroni calls for a slice of orange. However there have been modern trends towards garnishing with a twist of orange instead. We like the best of both worlds. The little bit of sweetness and freshness you get from the slice of orange as it soaks into the drink is really important and removing it diminishes the drink. That said, a twist delivers delicious zesty aromatics that add a freshness as you bring the drink to your mouth.
Conclusion…use both! Add a slice of fresh orange to the drink, then express an orange twist over the top and discard. Why not?! Life’s too short!
As always, don’t forget to show us what you made by tagging us!
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