Congratulations. You’ve graduated to the phase of drinking where you can say with confidence that the Negroni is one of your favourite cocktails. The road to full appreciation of this most perfect drink was not always a straightforward one, but once you got hooked on the bitter ambrosia you couldn’t get enough! You ordered it at any establishment that had a dusty Campari bottle on its shelves, and courted it in all the myriad forms it was served in — stirred up; stirred up and then poured on ice; shaken à la Tucci; and built on a rock in a glass (hopefully your now-preferred format). Now, you’re making it rain Negronis at home, realising that preparing your own is actually one of the few undisputed pleasures in life.
But sometimes, novelty beckons. Not because you question your adoration of the Negroni, but because you understand that the occasional detour makes the final arrival home that much sweeter. (And because true love sets you free or something, etc.) The very reasonable desire for something new and different is confirmation that you do, in fact, have a pulse.
If you are lucky, you venture into this shuffle while seated at the bar at Attaboy, and if you are even luckier still, Pepper is behind the bar that night, and when she asks you what you’re in the mood for, you lean in and say — sheepishly but with some exhilaration — “A Negroni but like, not a Negroni, you know?” She nods, and you know you are in good hands. When she appears again, she pushes the most lovely and inviting coupe towards you: “It’s a Gloria.” You take a sip, and your eyes widen as you look at Pepper with gratitude. Risk has been rewarded.
The Gloria cocktail is often spoken of as the lovechild of the Negroni and the Martini, but she’s also totally her own person, too, ok? I think she might be a Libra. The point is that she is delicious and very, very pretty, with a translucent red glow reminiscent of a rare ruby. Her origin story is also rather interesting, and one that sent me down a rabbit hole.
The Gloria cocktail is most often credited to Trader Vic circa 1947, and is featured in one of his bartender’s manuals. The Cointreau website, however, claims it was created by Marie Glory — a silent-era French actress with a penchant for aperitifs — for a cocktail competition in 1929. I couldn’t find anything else that explicitly corroborates this claim, but I did find a photo of Marie Glory at a cocktail party she threw, and apparently she is featured on the posters for Campari’s publicity campaign in the 1930’s. The intrigue continues! I think this air of mystery is actually quite befitting for Gloria.
To meet her, you will need:
- 45 ml Gin (dry, London)
- 15 ml Campari
- 15 ml Dry Vermouth
- 15 ml Cointreau
- Lemon twist for garnish
This is a stirred up cocktail, and there’s no greater injustice in the world of libations than a stirred up cocktail that isn’t adequately cold, or over-diluted, or worst of all, both. It’s imperative that both your coupe and mixing glass be as chilled as possible, and that you have plenty of fresh, dry ice to work with — ideally in varying sizes.
Pour ingredients into the chilled mixing glass first (you don’t need anything fancy, a Boston glass or similar will do) then fill with cracked ice, larger pieces first and smaller shards last. Stir carefully, keeping the back of your bar spoon against the glass and adding ice if needed. The wetter the ice, the less time you have to work with, so keep that in mind. Generally, you want to stir until the mixing glass has re-frosted, about 30 seconds. Once sufficiently stirred, remove your coup from the freezer (not a moment sooner) and strain into the glass. Express the lemon peel over the glass and garnish.