Minty at Home: The Negroni and its Variations
Surprise, surprise! I’m not actually going to show you how to make a Negroni. Stanley Tucci has already done a fine job of it.
No, actually he did. Despite a few nitpicks, the ultimate Negroni is the one you enjoy. So if you like it with Aperol instead of Campari go right ahead! I don’t even quibble about the gin / vodka thing because I like mine with whiskey sometimes. That variation is called a Boulevardier.
The Stanley Tucci Negroni
- Gin (maybe vodka?)
- That Good Sweet Vermouth, you know the kind
- orange slice for garnish
Shake the damn thing, then pour into a martini glass or whatever glass you want. Squeeze some orange juice in from the orange slice you’re using as a garnish. Don’t let your wife have a taste.
All right, I lied. Here’s how to make a Negroni. But first, read my post on Martini vs Manhattan.
Okay, now that you know about equal parts, you’ll be surprised (or not) that things are more fluid in the Minty world. Like a Manhattan, I do prefer it more boozy! So Mr. Tucci got that right.
So here’s the recipe:
- 2 oz gin (the good kind or whatever you got*)
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet vermouth (whatever you got, I’m using Bigallet China China Amer)
- lemon twist
*I like gins like Boodles, Beefeater and St. George gins (especially the terroir).
Add all ingredients to your mixing vessel. Stir as long as you can stand it, about 30-45 seconds depending on the ice you’re using. If you’re using fridge or bagged party ice, stir less as it’ll melt faster and dilute your drinks pretty quickly. The point is to get it cold and perfectly diluted (just a little). Strain into a nice glass. I like coupes but have been eyeing Nick and Nora glasses. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Yes, people do like these served down on ice with an orange twist. You do you, baby.
As for a Boulevardier, just use whiskey instead of gin. It’s the same specs and mixing method. You could garnish with a cherry but go with a twist to balance and enhance the Campari. I like rye whiskey but some like bourbon. Use what you got! And curve ball, sometimes I like to replace the gin with mezcal! Mezal and tequila replace gin beautifully in many cocktail recipes.
Now we’re entering the world of Negroni variations based on using a different amaro other than Campari. One of the wildly known ones is a Hanky Panky. It uses Fernet-Branca, gin and sweet vermouth. Does that sound familiar? Yes, it’s a Negroni with a different amaro! Of course Campari is an aperitivo and Fernet-Branca is a digestivo but we’re not going to talk about that right now. You can just read my past articles about aperitivi and fernets.
And you can sub in basically any amaro for Campari. Here I went for a Braulio Negroni. I liked it fine and while I love Braulio, I prefer a Cynar negroni (not shown but you know I’ve made and drank them. Maybe I’ll make one for tonight!).
And how did the Montenegro stack up as a Campari sub in a Negroni? Also tasty! You can see I got experimental with the garnish here. I liked the cherry (well, strawberries) better over the lemon twist as Montenegro is more bitter than Campari.
For the above drink, the Averna Negroni, I also riffed on that by creating a long drink. First I made the usual Negroni with Averna. Then I repeated the process but also added in St. George NOLA coffee liqueur, lemon juice and served it tall with strawberries. In retrospect, I should have muddled in the strawberries but you still get the flavors I was going for eating them on the side, deconstructed style. I called this an Averna iced coffee.
The other variation I like are white Negronis. Instead of a colorful amaro, you could go for a clear(ish) one. Using something like Salers gentian, gin and white vermouth (could be a semi-sweet one like Carpano Bianco or dry vermouth), you get a delightful drink.
What’s your favorite variation?
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