Welcome to the first installment of my (hopefully) weekly article: Spiritual Sundays. Every Sunday I will discuss a cocktail, or possibly wine/beer/whiskey, etc…
How could I begin this article with anything but one of my all time favorite cocktails, The Negroni? I’m fairly certain I had this drink for the first time at my dad’s apartment. Bitter, herbal, floral, and bright, I immediately fell in love with it.
First, a bit of history. Unlike most cocktails, the Negroni does not have its background rooted in the United States, but instead in Italy. The Americano was the father of the Negroni; a cocktail made from equal parts Campari (a fantastic Italian apertif) and Sweet Vermouth, then topped with soda water and a bit of orange. It is a fantastic cocktail by its own right:
The story goes that in 1919, Count Negroni, while enjoying some Americanos, supposedly asked for Gin intead of soda-water. as I like to think it went, he asked the help for “some more booze in my booze, please.”
And that is where we get this fantastic cocktail. Equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth, and Campari, with a zest of orange, toasted with a lighter if possible.
For the crafting itself the first choice to make is what sort of gin, and what brand of Vermouth to use (Campari is Campari. Arguably you could substitute Aperol, but it would cease to be a real Negroni then. Furthermore, you could use vodka instead of gin, but that would be an abomination against all things of truth and beauty).
For myself, I prefer Tanqueray–a nice, strong, dry, British gin that stands up well to the intensity of Campari. Bombay Sapphire is good too. I’d stay away from the floral, cucumbery gins, like Hendricks or 12 Bridges, as I think the run the risk of getting overwhelmed by the other liquors.
With the vermouth, I use Dolin, an excellent and affordable brand. Though the Antica Formula is simply spectacular, it’s a little heavy for a Negroni, I think, and pretty spendy. Punt E mes and Vya would be fun to try as well.
Now for the second choice: Up, or on the rocks. Both are excellent, though I generally make a Negroni built on the rocks. Either way, they get the orange zest, and either way they are delicious
So there you have it: The Negroni. A beautiful, perfect drink.
See you next Sunday with Volume 2.