Bittersweet and slightly medicinal, The Negroni is easily my favorite cocktail. It’s not for everyone. And that’s ok. Meant as an aperitif to whet the appetite I will happily sip on Negronis all night.
In Israel there’s been no shortage of good beer, but good cocktails and spirits are harder to come by. That’s why my face lit up when I discovered a liquor store near my house and saw their one lone bottle of Campari – the soul of a Negroni. I snatched it up along with a bottle of gin and both red and dry vermouth. The people at the counter didn’t seem to know what Campari was or how much it cost. I waited while they called someone and didn’t even flinch at the price (nearly $40 usd! My three other spirits combined cost less). I just knew I needed it.
The Negroni is a derivative of another classic Italian cocktail, the Americano (Campari, vermouth, and soda water). The newer version was purportedly created in 1919 in Florence when Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender to strengthen the Americano. The rest, as they say, is history.
And it’s one of the easiest cocktails to make: combine 1 ounce each of Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. Shake with ice. Strain. If you’re feeling fancy add a flamed orange peel. Enjoy. I don’t have a cocktail shaker here so I just stirred. Campari and vermouth are both bursting with herbs and botanicals so the resulting flavor is bitter at first with a lingering complexity and a slightly syrupy texture.
Note: you are never supposed to make cocktails like this in large batches, but I did and it was great. I combined 10 ounces of each spirit and then tasted and adjusted with a little extra vermouth and Campari. Just don’t tell anyone.
Yield: 1 Cocktail
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Orange peel (optional)
Combine gin, Campari, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake. Strain into a chilled glass. Flame an orange peel over the top if you like. Enjoy.