Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Negroni - a Public Service Announcement

A good friend who called me last night to ask me how I make a Negroni. I told him how I make mine, and in so doing, I thought about how tragic it would be if there are others like him out there - otherwise very intelligent people, worldly people who are great in the kitchen and who have a lot of experience making food and drink, but do not know how to make a Negroni. So please consider this as a public service announcement.

Let me start by telling you that I have never been a bartender. I have no piercings, I am not now, nor have I ever worn a bowler hat. Same goes for arm gators - never. I have not yet planted a vegetable farm on my roof, and I have never raised and then butchered a pig. I have, however, seen many western movies in which men wear mutton chops, bowler hats, and arm garters while tending bar, and I hope that the viewing of those films, in conjunction with the tattoo that I got in college 20 years ago, will convey upon me sufficient mixology street cred.

The first time I had Negroni it was served to me after dinner in a Martini glass. I loved it immediately - bittersweet, perky, complex, just delicious. I asked how to make it and the bartender said that the owner of the restaurant wants the Negroni to be served as an aperitif over ice, but he prefers it straight up after dinner. His recipe: 3 parts gin, 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari. I made mine that way for a while and enjoyed every one of them.

That said, the classic recipe for a Negroni is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Nowadays I use basically equal parts, but I like to use a little bit more gin, say a 3 and a half count pour instead of 3. And these days I prefer a Negroni as an aperitif on the rocks, and I like a thin slice of lemon that I massage with the ice cubes before I pour the drink in the glass. I know, an orange slice is more typical, but I like the bite of the lemon.

The point here is that I make it the way I enjoy it. If you're curious, play around with the ingredients and find your own favorite Negroni. Here is my current favorite:

3 and a half count pour Plymouth Gin
3 count pour Dolin Sweet Vermouth
3 count pour Campari

3 or 4 ice cubes in a shaker, add the above ingredients, shake vigorously while envisioning a frontier days bartender in Cheyenne. Press a lemon slice between ice cubes, pour the drink, have fun.

If you have a favorite Negroni recipe, or know of a good tattoo removal service, please share in the comments.


Jay said...

I add just a few drops of angostura bitters to mine and I think it makes it just a bit better. Otherwise, pretty much the same recipe.

Now I'm thirsty.

Anonymous said...

Negronis aside, I think your readership would appreciate knowing exactly what sort of tattoo you opted for during college.

TWG said...

tatoo guess: cat in the hat?

It's arm gaiters, gators live down south, garters are for women (typically).

I have a bit of Vergano Americano left and had been drinking it with soda water, but perhaps a negroni is in order.

I make mine with the classic proportions but sometimes with a bit more gin and orange bitters. My favored vermouths are Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes with M&R an acceptable substitute. Only had a bottle of the Dolin once, but it wasn't sweet enough for the Manhattans.

Anonymous said...

I like a splash of club soda on top

Unknown said...

This is exactly what i'm ordering after i get out of work today. Can't wait!

Weston said...

I do equal Parts but with a Twist of Burnt Orange Zest.

Brooklynguy said...

The tattoo is an arm gator, a ring around my bicep.

That's not true, but i think it's funny.

Woody Moranis said...

A negroni is a beautiful thing if made right...a tragedy if not. I agree with the longer pour for gin, I also do this with the corpse reviver 2 and Irma la Duce cocktails. I just like the bite from the gin. Always love to read about a fellow cocktail lover.

One of those tattooed hipster mixology guys