It’s not bitter… it’s a Negroni


THERE SEEMS to be an awful lot of bitterness around at the moment and I’m not talking about the post Brexit kind.

Drink wise, bitter flavours are everywhere, from jagermeister, to black sambucca to fernet branca, drinkers are discovering the hidden sweetness in bitter drinks.

When it comes to cocktails, the classic bitter old queen of a beauty is the Negroni, said to be the late Queen Mother’s favourite tipple and who could possibly argue with her.

Simple and balanced, it’s considered to be one of the most famous Italian cocktails in the world.

Invented in 1919 by Count Negroni, who asked to add a touch of gin rather than soda to his americano, in honour of his last trip to London.

Subsequently the cocktail was finally named after the count who adored it.

The Negroni is always said to be the cocktail of threes, as in, it should be made with three equal parts, should take three sips to drink, and you need to try it at least three times before you really enjoy it.

However, the rocketing popularity of the iconic Italian spirit Campari, plus a newfound willingness to experiment and diversify with our drinking habits, has resulted in vintage cocktail Negroni emerging as the drink of the moment.

It’s definitely a divisive one for sure as Campari itself is an acquired taste, being a deeply bitter and lurid spirit and once the reserve of dusty cocktail cabinets, but the 1:1:1 ratio of Negroni leaves it open to adaptation.

The drink has been seldom tampered with in the near century since it was born and it’s now a super-modish choice in hipster pubs and enthusiastic cocktail bars, where whole Negroni menus are emerging.

But the basic blueprint remains the same, making it an easy cocktail to knock up at home.

Start with your three spirits. Campari is simple enough, but there’s a whole world of gin and vermouth to choose from.

Sweet Cinzano rosso (red) vermouth, or Punt e Mes , or a combination of both, make for a perfect balance.

Go for a clean, classic London dry or navy strength gin and take note of the botanicals and tasting notes and go for one for a strong finish to take on the forceful Campari.

Prepare it:

– 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Campari
– 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Gin
– 1 part (1oz, 3cl) Red Vermouth
– 1 slice of orange

Make it:

Fill a short rocks glass with ice and if you want to really show off, try to source a mould for large, round ice cubes.

Layering up the three components, most mixologists like to add gin first to enjoy the colour change as the darker spirits are added.

Give the three shots a quick spin using a thin bar straw or spoon and adds a slice of orange then serve.

Some people prefer to add pared orange zests or the addition of the citrus flesh.

Drink it:

As the ratio is set, you can go as little or large as you wish, so if you want to beef your Negroni up a little, go for a 25ml shot of each component.

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