Red Bitter Cocktails Beyond The Negroni
The Negroni lover’s guide to alternative red bitter cocktails. Although this title could also read as, “I don’t like Negronis, but I love those sorts of ingredients, what alternatives are there for me to try?” There are plenty of people out there who feel just like that, we have at least one of them here at Candra!
This is a list of mainly classic cocktails, some that even predate the Negroni itself, that all feature at least two of the key elements that make the Negroni. Sweet Vermouth, Bitter Aperitivo and Gin. We nearly allowed the Aperol Spritz in, but it seemed a little too far removed, and hey, that drink gets enough attention as it is!
Depending on the stories you believe, this is the drink that started it all. The simple process of replacing the sparkling water in the Americano, with Gin and using a 1 : 1 : 1 ratio of all the ingredients you get to the Negroni. The Negroni soared to fame leaving the Americano very much in its shadow.
However, this drink deserves your attention, whether you’re a Negroni fan or not. It has a perfect balance of a rich body, refreshing bubbles and satisfying dry bitter finish. It’s lower in strength than the Negroni, and perfect for anytime, especially lunchtime or early evening Aperitivo imbibing.
Only a few years older than the Negroni itself, the Boulevardier was created and popularized by American expats in Paris. It’s essentially a Whisky Negroni, subbing in American Whisky in place of the traditional Gin.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to serve the Boulevardier’s ingredients in equal parts, like the Negroni. Many, and we’d agree, feel it works better as a 1.5 : 1 : 1 ratio. You’ll only know when you try, so have a play and see what you think.
The one red bitter cocktail recipe here that isn’t from the history books, but it well deserves a place on this list. It may not be a classic, but it has a number of classic flavour combinations that make the Royal Bitter Spritz such a great little drink. Gin and Bitter Aperitivo, Bitter Aperitivo and Strawberries, Strawberries and Sparkling Wine, we could go on.
This is a deliciously fresh strawberry Spritz recipe that, although it may have the look of something that’s sweet and fruity, fear not! This is actually a delightfully dry and subtle recipe that finishes clean and pleasantly bitter on the palate.
04. Hanky Panky
A classic from London’s Savoy Hotel, the Hanky Panky was created by Ada Coleman who was head bartender between 1903 -1925. The recipe is also included in Harry Craddock’s iconic 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book and ensured the recipe lived on through history. Craddock had taken over from Coleman as head bartender at American Bar at the Savoy.
The recipe uses equal measures of Gin and Sweet Vermouth, like the Negroni, however the recipes diverge after here. The bitter finish for the Hanky Panky is not created by Bitter Aperitivo as in the Negroni, instead Coleman used a couple of dashes of the Amaro, Fernet-Branca to add a little depth and bitterness to her drink.
Served up with an orange twist, this is a great classic to know, and one with broad appeal, not just for the Negroni lovers out there.
Some of the best things come from happy accidents, and that’s exactly what we have here. Legend has it that when making a Negroni, bartender Mirko Stocchetto reached for Gin but somehow managed to grab a bottle of Prosecco while working in Milan’s Bar Basso in the 1970’s, on what we can only assume was a very busy shift.
Well he got lucky with this slip up, as the delicious red bitter cocktail, the Sbagliato was born and grew in popularity. Sbagliato comes from the Italian word ‘sbaglio’ which translates to ‘mistake’, so this is literally a Negroni mistake. Some part Negroni, some part Spritz, this tasty little accident is all very much on trend today, with the world’s love of Negronis and obsession with the Spritz this is a great recipe to try…and that’s no mistake! Sorry, we couldn’t resist.
As always, don’t forget to show us what you made by tagging us!
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