The Negroni is one of my all time favorite cocktails, the blend of Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and Gin produces an interesting bitter sweet cocktail. Many prefer to serve it in a tall frosted coupe, personally I prefer it in a rocks glass over ice; as the ice melts the drink transforms resulting in a cocktail that finishes much sweeter than it began. A quick google would reveal that many have dubbed the Negroni to be the ‘Perfect’ cocktail, although given how much personal taste can vary I think that’s probably a bit of a stretch.
The Negroni is another cocktail with a storied past. The drink is based on an Italian cocktail from the 1860’s originally named the Milano-Torino: 1 oz of Campari (made in Milan) and 1 oz of Cinzano Vermouth (from Turin) and a splash of soda water. As American tourism in Italy boomed in the early 1900’s it became clear that the Milano-Torino was the favorite libation of these foreign visitors and the drink came to be known as the Americano.
The story goes that in 1919 Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender at the Caffè Giacosa in Florrence to stiffen up his favorite drink, the Americano. The bartender substituted gin for the soda water and the Negroni was born.
The last blog that went up talked about the strawberry gin we make here at Chinched. Another cocktail made with that divine elixir is the Strawberry Negroni, which has taken the spot of the classic Negroni as my current favorite beverage.
The strawberry adds another interesting layer of flavor and just a hint of sweetness without overpowering an already complex drink. Also, where the strawberries added body to the gin so does the strawberry gin add texture to the cocktail. I adjusted the recipe very slightly from the classic Negroni ratio of 1:1:1, I use 1 oz Strawberry Gin, 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth, and 0.75 oz Campari. I find this ratio helps the strawberry really shine through. Finally it’s finished off with a long lemon twist, which is absolutely essential. After using a potato peeler to produce a long lemon peel, twist it over the cocktail to express the oils and then drop it directly into the glass. The lemon oil completely transforms the cocktail, and while you might be tempted to skip the garnish let me assure you it’s the piece of the puzzle that pushes the Strawberry Negroni from good to great!