It’s Negroni Week — at least, for a few more days. If you aren't familiar with this week, a bunch of different bartenders at a bunch of different bars put their “spin” on the classic cocktail to raise money for charities around the world. It’s nice.
Jam is a constant on most breakfast tables, but one usually finds it on toast, not in cocktails. Beyond boosting your bread and butter, really good fruit preserves can sweeten and mellow almost any cocktail, giving it a friendly, welcoming vibe that’s perfect for AM imbibing.
I live every week like it’s Negroni Week, but given that we — meaning me and A.A. Newton — talk about this particular cocktail (and its variations) a lot, I thought I’d take this Negroni Weekend to round up all of our Negroni-centric rambling in one convenient location. We even have a Negroni pie.
Haters will say that gin, Campari and sweet vermouth is just highfalutin' cough syrup, but I say a great Negroni is pure cocktail alchemy, melding three aggressive ingredients into something magical. To make it, you will need:
- 30ml dry gin
- 22ml Campari
- 22ml sweet vermouth
Stir in a mixing glass filled with ice until completely chilled, then strain into a coupe or lowball, either up or on a big rock. Garnish with a strip of lemon, orange or (my personal favourite) grapefruit zest.
“Dirty lolly” may be the best way to describe the flavour, but I mean that in the best way possible. These liqueurs are grassy, earthy and sweet, and I love them. To make it, you will need:
- 44ml gin
- 22ml Suze or Avèze
- 22ml Lillet
Add everything to a stirring glass filled with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass or into a lowball with a big rock, depending on how you prefer your Negroni.
Pairing woodsy Cynar with the slightly burnt, citrusy Campari makes for a delightfully aggressive flavour profile, and I like it. To keep it pleasant, I decrease each amaro from 30ml to 22ml, and make sure to serve it on a big ol’ rock. To make it, you will need:
- 30ml dry gin
- 22ml Campari
- 22ml Cynar
Pour everything into a mixing glass or pint glass filled with ice and stir until it is well-chilled and diluted. Strain into a lowball with a big cube of frozen water, and brace yourself for a blast of bitterness.
“Sbagliato” is basically Italian for “whoops”, as the beverage apparently came into being when a bartender mistakenly grabbed a bottle of sparkling wine, rather than gin, when making a classic Negroni. (I feel like those bottles would be very different shapes, but who knows.) To make it, you will need:
- 44ml Campari (you can also use Aperol if you find Campari too bitter)
- 44ml sweet vermouth
- 44ml dry sparkling wine
Pour the Campari and vermouth into a shaker tin or pint glass filled with ice and stir until completely chill. Strain into a flute, top with (chilled) bubbles, and sip in a very refined manner.
Maybe you want to eat your Negroni. This is something I support fully, and we have two ways you can accomplish this goal. If you’re a hard lolly connoisseur, consider transforming the Negroni into a lollipop (go here for detailed instructions).
If you’re more of a baker, we have a Negroni pie as well. It’s a custardy, brilliantly pink confection with a subtle, but still very present cocktail-driven flavour. Making it isn’t as simple as dumping your drink into a bowl with some eggs, but it isn’t much more involved.
A.A. Newton can walk you through the process here, but the important thing to keep in mind is that you should enjoy your Negroni cocktail while baking your Negroni pie. Surprisingly, the two don’t pair very well, but that just means you can alternate cocktails with slices of pie, prolonging the pleasure (and Negroni Week).