Negroni Week established in 2013 in Portland by Imbibe Magazine and Campari certainly has grown! How do I know this? Well it was just last week and the amount of questions I am getting from friends about Negroni’s and how to get started on them has been crazy!
I love them, but they are a bitter spirit forward cocktail so I am going to share my recipe for what I call a “Gateway Negroni” as well as a few riffs for the more adventurous home bartenders.
Of course my Gateway Negroni involves an infusion or two. I like to take strawberries and infuse my Campari with them. You can do this with fresh strawberries, frozen strawberries or with one of my Hail M Strawberry Hibiscus Infusion Bags.
Negroni’s are an easy three part cocktail. Equal parts Gin, Sweet Vermouth (the red one) and Campari. Campari is an Italian Amaro – which means it is a “bitter”. Italians like to drink an Amaro or a drink featuring an Amaro both before dinner – an Aperitif and after dinner a Digestivo. The bitter is key – it tricks your body into thinking you have perhaps been poisoned and gets those digestive juices working and ready for a fabulous meal.
Back to the Gateway Negroni. I like to slowly simmer my Campari with strawberries. You do this very slowly and even with a lid to prevent evaporation.
Here's the recipe: Start out with just a bit – maybe six ounces of Campari in a small sauce pan. Add ½ cup of sliced strawberries. They can be fresh or frozen. Simmer on very low heat until the strawberries lose color. Alternately you can also take the same 6 oz and place it in a jar and drop two Hail M Strawberry Hibiscus Infusions in the jar. Seal with a lid and leave it over night.
The strawberries will soften some of the bitterness in the Campari. Now you are ready to mix!
- You can ice your glass in advance.
- Get Big Ice – it makes a difference to the drink and it just looks great!
- Slice an Orange and take a big Orange Wheel and slip it in the side of your glass then, please your large ice cube in and you are ready to pour and serve you cocktail. It will look and smell beautiful!
- 1 oz Gin – Any London Dry is a classic and will work well
- 1 oz Sweet Vermouth – this is the red one. Once you open it – keep it in the refrigerator!
- 1 oz Strawberry Infused Campari
Prep your serving glass or glasses. Remember once you add ice to anything you need to be ready to move. Ice in Mixology is like heat on a stove for a Chef cooking! In a separate Mixing Glass add a scoop of ice. Add each of your ingredients – Yes Measure!
Stir for just about 30 – 45 seconds. Don’t overdo it! You are adding dilution and impacting the texture of the drink – what bartenders call “mouthfeel”.
Take a Julep Strainer and pour your drink into your pre-prepped cocktail glass over ice. If you don’t want to use an orange wheel, you can express an orange peel over the top and around the edge of your glass.
Take it a step further, and put three drops of good balsamic vinegar across the top of your ice and garnish with a fresh thin slice of strawberry. Or you can do what do and garnish with edible flowers!
Alla Vostra Salute!