Thursday, May 16, 2019

"The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other."

~Orson Welles

Let's start this post with a confession; I am not that keen on a classic Negroni cocktail.  I find the Campari's sharp bitter notes a step too far.  Subtle bitter notes are more my thing, so I decided that I wanted to try and create a Negroni that I would enjoy and use that alluring ruby red liquor that is sitting at the back of my spirit cupboard.
The Negroni is a popular Italian cocktail, made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari and garnished with orange peel.  Stirred over the ice and served mainly as an aperitif.  
So the story goes that around 1919 in Florence, Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano cocktail but was feeling a little adventurous.  He requested it with a touch of gin instead of soda, inspired by his travels to London and their love of all things gin.  The bartender poured the drink and added a slice of orange instead of lemon and Count Camillo Negroni’s drink was created.  At his local cocktail spot the drink became known as Count Negroni’s Americano, or the “Americano with a touch of gin” and over the years the name reduced down simply to the Negroni.  

There is no doubt that the most demanding flavour in this drink is the Campari.  Campari is an Italian bitter spirit that is bright red in colour and is very botanical on the nose but try drinking it on its own and you might just get a shock, its super bitter!  Way too bitter for me!  So I wanted to create a drink that made the bitter a subtle layer rather than a kick in the face.  
I have been playing around with making my own liqueurs and had a batch of Cherry Liqueurs ready to go.  I made the liqueur to create one of my favourite cocktails, The Casino, but knew that its fruity sharp sweetness would be the perfect contrast to the Campari's bitter.  Against tradition, I also messed with the 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of the drink.  Naughty I know, but totally worth it, trust me.........


1 1/2 oz gin (I used Gordons)
1/2 oz Campari1 oz Cherry Liqueurs (I will share my homemade recipe soon but you can use Luxardo here too)
Orange Twist (Flamed or straight- both delicious)

Place the spirits in a metal shaker and add a handful of ice.  Stir till the shaker is chilled.  Strain over fresh ice and rub the orange around the rim of the glass and garnish with the twist.  
Note: It may seem crazy to strain out ice already in the drink but I prefer my cocktails not to be watered down by already melting ice so use fresh ice in your drink and it will be perfect till the end.  

I will share my experiments with homemade Liqueurs & bitters soon.  So much fun to create your own spirit blends and adds a whole new level of fun to home cocktail making!  

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